Program Book 1998-1999 page 12
Concert II Program Notes

The G Major K. 590 is the last of Mozart's 23 Quartets. It was composed for the King of Prussia, an avid cellist and chamber musician (today it is more common for world leaders to perform chamber music on saxophone). Since Mozart wanted to stay in the King's favor, he made sure there was ample writing for the instrument in this quartet. It is one of the things that encouraged me to transcribe this work for the ASQ. I love to hear Harry play. (Also, Mozart was known to favor the viola chair, which is why the last bit of solo in the Rondo goes to the tenor.) The great cellist of the late Sequoia String Quartet, Robert Martin, suggested this work, as well, stating that it always struck him as a 'saxophone quartet'. S.R.

Michael Torke (1961- ), is an Eastman graduate and Prix de Rome winner. His works effectively blend serious music, jazz, and rock elements. In July (1995), Torke intends to incorporate contrasting themes and moods together in a one movement piece. As you listen to July don't be surprised if you find yourself pulsing to a four measure phrase pattern, because it was composed by translating the rhythm pattern from the drum track of a popular tune, into pitched material. The composer writes, "Keeping in mind the incredible agility of the saxophone, I wrote a series of rapid notes which form a foundation, or a kind of 'directory', from which I pull out pitches to assign to those original [drum track] rhythms ... " Torke says, "The idea that rhythm is intrinsically human - not just primitive - that we all have hearts that beat at a steady rate and don't stop ... reminds me of life itself." H.F.

Lukas Foss (1922 - ) studied in Berlin, Paris and with Scalero and Thompson at the Curtis Institute, as well as with Hindemith at Yale. In 1953 he was appointed professor of music at UCLA, succeeding Arnold Schonberg in that position. He was music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (1963-70), and in 1971 became conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, introducing much new music. From 1981 to 1986 he was also music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. As a program planner and conductor he has been unorthodox. His early music, with neo-classical and American folk elements, made his reputation as a composer, but in the late 1950s he began working with improvisation, and his subsequent works draw on diverse modernisms, including electronics. —Adapted from Norton/Grove Encyclopedia of Music

Foss' Saxophone Quartet (1985) is infused with musical contrast and consists of four movements played without pause. The first is titled Introduction and is marked Agitato (explosive, but precise). Edgy figurines develop a nervous momentum, initially interspersed with sustained chords. The second movement is titled Canon, and the pitch/melodic structure darts haltingly and with playful urgency, as if an atonal architecture banters with an impish hidden tune. Just before the intricate playtime comes to a halt we hear a caption in the style of the Introduction. What follows is the Chorale of the third movement, a sequence of transparent musical ciphers in the form of slowly progressing chords — a spiral of evolving tonalities which gleam like fragments of musically stained glass. But then Attacca commands the opening of

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book Concert II Notes