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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its that time of year again! Yes its final recital time.

I need to prepare some program notes, but this is never an easy task!

If anyone has any helpful bio or analytical type notes on any of these pieces it would be really helpful!

Ryo Noda - Mai - (Pretty much covered to be honest! - extra info welcomed!)

Creston - Sonata

Desenclos - Prelude, Cadence et Finale

Heath - Rumania

Many thanks in advance!
 

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Noda - Your best bet is to make sure that you put the story in your notes so that your audience can follow the program of the piece. Also be sure to briefly describe some of the extended techniques.

Creston - Paul Creston wasn't Paul Creston's real name. I forget offhand, but it was something Italian (Giacomo something or other). Creston's real name should be easy enough to find. I believe he changed it because of WWI, but I might be wrong. The Sonata was written for Cecil Leeson, who you can find some more info about by searching the threads here. Talk about how, especially in the third movement, Creston is implying different time signatures than he is writing, usually uneven meters.

Most of the info you can find online w/ Google or by looking through liner notes on saxophone CD's (good bio info on Creston is on a NAXOS recording of his first 3 symphonies). Good luck with the recital, and do your own reseach!! ;) (jk, I suppose that's what the forum is for)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have done a fair bit, but its interesting to see what other people may have unearthed in their own searches or what they may have been told by their tutors in respect to background and even misprints etc!
 

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Giuseppe Guttoveggio changed his name to Paul Creston so that he would have a better chance of winning composition competitions.

Angel
 

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There were some interesting little notes about Creston and Leeson in a Lynn Klock CD we have at school, let me see if I can't dig it up for you sometime tomorrow.
 

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My programme notes

I performed the Creston for my LRSM last summer and part of the exam included programme notes, see below. I'd welcome any comments on these from others (positive or negative).


Born Guiseppe Guttoveggio in 1906 to Italian immigrants, Paul Creston adopted his name partly from a nickname he received at High School, “Cress”, named after a character he portrayed in a play. Even from his early years, Creston showed a streak of indefatigable individualism, pursuing a wide range of studies with great enthusiasm. Perhaps it is because of this personality trait that Creston managed to work alongside the Second Viennese School, Minimalism and the Avant Garde and still emerge an original voice. Rhythm was central to Creston's musical aesthetic and he wrote two academic books on the subject. In one sense, Creston did have a penchant for the unusual, increasing the repertoire of often overlooked instruments such as the marimba, accordian and of course the saxophone.
The Sonata for Eb alto saxophone and piano, was written for the American virtuoso Cecil Leeson between 1937 and 1940 and has become a stalwart of the classical repertory. The three strikingly different movements are nonetheless held together by fragments of melodic material although always presented in a new harmonic template. Considering the autodidactic nature of Creston's education, the composer uses some particularly advanced harmonic concepts, including tritone substitutions, semitone approaches and minor 3rd access. Creston's treatment of upper extentions of chords is also very sophisticated and enhances the music at several points. As a result the music sounds exciting and slightly exotic, but maintains a strong sense of logical progression. Whether Creston was influenced by jazz or if his harmonic language was intuitive is unclear, although perhaps it was Guttoveggio's heritage that gave his music that Puccinian drama.
The first movement begins with a bold melodic statement from the saxophone, aided by interjections from the piano before developing into a sweeping line utilising a substantial range of the saxophone. This quickly gives way to the more lyrical second subject, supported by a slight slowing of the harmonic rhythm. An extensive development follows before a veiled recapitulation concludes the curtailed-sonata-form of this movement. By the end we have been introduced to the type of rhythmic displacement we will hear more of in the final movement. This movement is full of energy and is imbibed with an intensity that drives the music ever forwards.
In complete opposition to this, the second movement has a delicacy from the outset. Although in an irregular time signature, most of the time we are not aware of this because the melodic line is so well constructed, and of course the tempo is very slow. We hear the principal melody three times, each time transposed and once in a different harmonic context. Although tender, the movement does build to a substantial climax dynamically before subsiding. A highlight of this movement is the final phrase where the saxophone ascends melodically in a controlled diminuendo while descending triads in the piano provide a complimentary canvass.
The emotional intensity of the first two movements is broken by the lively final movement, which aside from a brief lyrical passage about halfway through has a pervasive mood of jollity. Despite it's lightness, the movement contains some complex rhythmic processes including displacement and hemiolas. There are also sections which imply a pseudo-clavé rhythm. Motivic use of the mordent utilises the embellishment not only as a decorative device but as a catalyst to bring cohesion to the movement. The final section of the piece is almost comical in its rate of modulations, but Creston restrains the music from degenerating into sonic farce.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
These notes look great... it under pins most of what I thought, I knew that it was thematically realated throughtout! I think its also interesting to note that Creston uses sharps and flats as an indications of mood and colour rather than just as harmonic function.
 

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Yeah, that thing about sharps and flats indicating mood I wasn't sure about. I need to check it out again to be sure, but if I remember correctly, often the piano part and saxophone part have conflicting sharps and flats, and possibly even within the piano part itself, i.e. sharps and flats written at the precise same moment. I think I remember Rob Buckland talking about the very thing you mention and was puzzled when I looked into it myself... Just noticed your location is Manchester - connection?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah I am studying with Rob, I do think there is an element of truth in it, he's not using the accidentals in a conventional way, there must be some kind of logic it it, even if it only applies to the saxophone part, which we do have more control over colour depending on the accidental put in front of us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh BTW I also had Kyle Horch mention to me (a fair few years agao) that the first 3/4 notes of the piece form pretty much all of the melodic material, which also seems to be accurate, especially the main themes.
 
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