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Hey all,

I wanted to share this recording from the premiere performance of my Concerto for Baritone Saxophone, performed last year by Taylor Huitema and Zhao Wang at Central Michigan University. There are versions of the concerto with either piano or string orchestra accompaniment. More information about the piece can be found here!

 

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Is this concerto in place of, or in addition to, the baritone sax sonata that you were planning a couple of years ago? There was a commissioning consortium for the sonata, as I recall. If you decided to make the composition flexible in terms of format (like the Glass Concerto for Saxophone Quartet), I think that was a good idea. An authorized piano version from the composer will probably have more impact than a piano reduction arranged by someone else.

I will give this work a listen when I have a chance. I've enjoyed your previous posted works here.
 

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Is this concerto in place of, or in addition to, the baritone sax sonata that you were planning a couple of years ago? There was a commissioning consortium for the sonata, as I recall. If you decided to make the composition flexible in terms of format (like the Glass Concerto for Saxophone Quartet), I think that was a good idea. An authorized piano version from the composer will probably have more impact than a piano reduction arranged by someone else.

I will give this work a listen when I have a chance. I've enjoyed your previous posted works here.
Great memory! The original sonata idea expanded into this concerto while I was working on it. It was supposed to just be for bari sax and piano, but I thought the accompaniment I was writing would sound great with a string section, so I decided to make a version for bari sax and string orchestra as well.
 

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As promised, I listened to this piece -- very nice! I enjoyed the poignant, occasionally turbulent lyricism. The bari sax has a real searching, yearning quality.
 

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I actually like this tonally better than alto classical. Some of his notes seem out to me and I guess that is written into the phrases to add a jazz feel. His command is too good to think its a mistake K
 

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I too like this better than almost all classical alto playing I've heard. The classical alto sound is too nasal and obtrusive to me.

You know, Adolphe Sax first created the bass saxophone, and considered it a "classical" instrument - a reliable bass wind instrument to replace the ophicleide and provide power the bassoon and contrabassoon didn't have - and I believe the tuba was just in the earliest stages of its development. I think he knew what he was doing. The tone quality of baritone and bass saxophones is, in my opinion, better suited to classical music than the alto or tenor.

But all the above is just my opinion.

And I like the video.
 

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The tone quality of baritone and bass saxophones is, in my opinion, better suited to classical music than the alto or tenor.
I personally disagree 100% with that perspective, but there's another factor at work here. There is a reason that all the leading solo orchestral instruments are pitched in the same "high, but not shriekingly high" range: they project much better, while still retaining a rich, expressive tone quality. As lyrical and powerful a solo instrument as the cello is, the violin has multiple times as much top-tier repertoire. (Don't even ask about the double bass as a solo voice in classical music.) And what's true of the strings is doubly true of the winds, since strings tend to have greater ranges. Flute rather than alto flute; trumpet or horn rather than trombone, baritone, or tuba; Bb/A clarinet rather than bass clarinet or basset horn; oboe rather than English horn or bassoon.

The saxophone is a little unusual in that the alto is the leading classical solo voice by a wide margin, rather than the soprano. (Soprano repertoire has been increasing a lot in recent decades, however.) Maybe the French horn vs. trumpet situation is similar. However, the alto sax can easily reach into the range of the instruments pitched slightly above it, especially with altissimo. The bari sax, as nice as it may sound at times (and it does sound nice in this Hass concerto), is and will remain far, far behind. There are norms of expression in classical music that are just more readily achievable in the "standard" solo pitch range.
 
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