Program Book 1998-1999 page 24
Concert IV Program Notes

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750?) was an obscure composer of the Baroque Era. Some scholars even conjecture that Bach may have been the invention of either Christopher Marlowe or Samuel Clemens. This arrangement was made for the ASQ by Lowell Shaw. He is much loved by French Hornists around the world for his wonderful Horn Quartets.

Antonin Dvorak, the great Czech composer lived in the United States from 1892 to 1895. It was during this time that he composed the Quartet in F Major. The work acquired the nickname "American" almost immediately. Several years ago, after the ASQ gave a performance in Pittsburgh, one of the city's music critics suggested to us that the Dvorak Quartet might make an excellent addition to our repertory. He thought that since the saxophone quartet was so 'American', it would be a good pairing. Since I have loved this work for years, I did not hesitate. — S.R.

Theodore Wiprud is an independent composer in New York City, also active in the presentation and funding of new music. Mr. Wiprud studied at Harvard, Boston University, and Cambridge University; his principal teachers were David Del Tredici and Robin Holloway.

"The saxophone quartet is still an emerging ensemble, and that is what makes writing for it so exciting. For some time I have considered writing for saxophone quartet because it is the only wind group really comparable to the string quartet in homogeneity and expressive range; to me, it is the American answer to the string quartet. This, my first work for the saxophone quartet, was commissioned by five outstanding groups — Adolphe Saxquartette, Amherst Saxophone Quartet, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Resounding Winds, and Western Illinois University — along with the New York series, Music at the Anthology."

"Since each group has a distinct repertory and audience, my challenge was to write a work that would stand up anywhere: music with plenty of character, but with plenty of room, too, for interpretation, for each group to apply its own ideas. My approach, the classical approach, is to structure simple materials into a clear, logical, and intrinsically exciting form. Among other things, my Quartet emerged as a study of the whole step, the most basic melodic interval, which in different contexts can mean many different things." — Theodore Wiprud

The Belgian composer Jean Absil began his musical studies as an organist, but in 1920 turned to the study of composition. His Piano Concerto (1938) brought him international attention. In 1955 he was elected to the Belgian Royal Academy, and in 1964 he received the Prix Quinquennial of the Belgian government. Absil's style is essentially polyphonic and polymodal. Changes in meter and irrational divisions are frequent. His music has great structural clarity, often cast in variation or other conventional forms. Absil's oeuvre includes works for orchestra, chorus, voice, piano, guitar, as well as many works for charnber ensembles, including three important works for saxophone quartet.

The Quatuor pour saxophones, op. 31, composed in 1937, is a charming and concise work in three movements: Andante - Allegro vivo - Nocturne et Finale. The brief initial Andante begins on a melancholy note, setting up the optimistic character of the Allegro vivo. The Nocturne is like a barcarole coming from some distant celebration. The work ends with a virtuosic Finale. — S.F.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book Program Notes