Program Book 2002-2003 page 28
CONCERT IV PROGRAM NOTES

JOSQUIN DESPREZ was born in the northern France/Belgium area. We have little knowledge of his early life, but it is known that in 1459 he was a singer at the Cathedral in Milan. In 1472, Josquin left the service of the duke and entered the service of the Sforza family, the governing family of Milan. As evidence of their authority, they employed many artists, including singers, instrumentalists, sculptors, and painters. The Sforza family was, for example, one of Leonardo da Vinci's patrons. Just as Beethoven summarized the accomplishments of the Viennese school, Josquin summarized the accomplishments of the preceding generations of Dufay and Ockeghem. He is on the border between the Middle Ages and the modern world. His works include 18 masses, 100 motets, 70 chansons, and other secular works. The Amherst Saxophone Quartet has recorded an entire CD of masterworks by Josquin Desprez. They make lovely gifts - hint, hint.

PAUL CRESTON (1906-1985), born Joseph Gutevecchio in New York, was an American composer and organist of Italian heritage. He was largely self-taught. Rhythm is the keystone of his style, his technique depending primarily on constantly shifting subdivisions of a regular meter. The other main features of his music are long, florid, but motivically-generated melody, lush impressionistic harmony and very full orchestration. The texture is generally homophonic, the tonality free and the form classical in its clarity and concision despite the flamboyantly romantic gestures. Creston's Sonata for saxophone and piano is possibly the most often performed work in the enormous repertoire of music for saxophone and piano. This Suite was written for the Swiss Saxophone Quartet.

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) was a composer and bandone6n player who revolutionized tango music. In 1924 Piazzolla's family moved from Buenos Aires to New York City - Astor was only three years old. They stayed there, with a brief interlude, until 1936. He listened to Cab Calloway in Harlem. Later, again in Buenos Aires, he played traditional tango on his bandone6n in Anibal Troilo's orchestra. In 1940 he composed a piece for Arthur Rubinstein who was in Buenos Aires on a tour. Rubinstein recognized Piazzolla's talent and told him to study composition with Alberto Ginastera. With Ginastera, he listened to Bartok and Stravinsky. In 1944 Piazzolla left Troilo-the tango scene considered this to be ingratitude and treason - but the 25-year old went his own way and created his own group. He introduced counterpoints, fugues and new harmonies into tango music, but it was not until the 1980s that Piazzolla became recognized in his homeland of Argentina. With the tangos of Astor Piazzolla, as in the Baroque period, the dance becomes a genre to be listened to.

DAVID SAMPSON (b. 1951, Charlottesville, Virginia) has emerged as one of the truly unique voices of his generation achieving rapidly growing attention from major orchestras, soloists and ensembles. He is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Colonial Symphony Orchestra (1998-2003). Recent and

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Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book Concert IV program notes