Program Book 2000-2001 page 06
A Tribute to Marcel Mule Program Notes

French saxophone virtuoso and master teacher Marcel Mule is considered one of the principle founders of the school of classical saxophone playing. He was born in Aube (Normandy) in 1901 and studied saxophone with his father, as well as violin and piano. He became the soloist with the Garde Républicaine military band in 1923, and built a worldwide reputation as a virtuoso performer, attracting the attention of several French composers who provided him with the basis of a repertoire of original music for saxophone. In 1928, with his colleagues, Mule organized the celebrated Quatuor de la Garde Républicaine. The quartet's first concert used transcriptions entirely, but it was not long before they could be discarded for the exclusive use of original works. Three of the most famous of the many pieces composed for this quartet are the works by Alexander Glazunov, Gabriel Pierne and Alfred Desenclos. After 1936, the group became known as the Quatuor de Saxophones de Paris, and attracted considerable attention to the classical saxophone through its broadcasts, recordings, and tours, both national and international. Later, the quartet was known simply as the Quatuor Marcel Mule. The saxophone class at the Paris Conservatory had been closed at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. In 1942, the saxophone class was finally reopened with Marcel Mule as the professor. He held this position through 1968.

We begin tonight's tribute to Marcel Mule with music of J.S. BACH (1685-1750), one of Maestro Mule's favorite composers. Mule transcribed many of Bach's pieces for performance by alto saxophone and piano. Bach's 24 preludes and fugues from the Well-tempered Clavier have been arranged for string trio and full orchestra, as well as for choir, accordion and jazz group. This evening's performance presents an arrangement for saxophone quartet of Prelude and Fugue No.5 in D major from Book II made by composer Percy Grainger. Grainger was born in Brighton, Australia in 1882, and studied in Berlin with Busoni and in London with Grieg. He became a naturalized American in 1914, and died in 1961 in White Plains, New York.

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Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book program notes