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I'm going to perform the Moritz Sonata in a few weeks and am trying to put together the program notes. I was wondering what kind of things might be good to mention? I can talk about some biographical information about Moritz and Leeson, but I don't have much yet to say about the actual work itself. Are there any resources that talk about it in the context of saxophone history? Any ideas?
 

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As I've said before in similar threads, I always think it's best for you to write about your own impressions of the work. What conclusions have YOU drawn about this piece in the context of saxophone history/Leeson/etc.? Include your own basic analysis of the piece ("The first movement, laid out in sonata form blah blah blah..."). Never forget that you know the piece very well - you've spent all this time learning it, after all. Your opinions and analysis are just as valid as anyone's.
 

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When writing programme notes I think you should put the listener in the right frame of mind so they get the most out of the music. You need to frame the work so the audience really want to concentrate and enjoy it.

I do not know the Moritz, but as a random example saying that a work uses algorithmic techniques is not as interesting as saying the composer wrote it after hearing nuns chant in a medieval monastery during a visit to Syria. It is also a good idea to use words that have attractive connotations. In the U.K. programme writers often use aggressive words like confrontation, questioning, dangerous etc. Far better to use positive words that make the audience feel good - providing they describe the music, of course.
 

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IIRC, Eduard (Edvard?) Moritz was pretty much ignored even in his day. He was a German in New York at a time (late 30s) when native talent in the Copland idiom kind of had a lock on the concert halls. If you worked outside that bag, you had a hard time catching on.

Writing for saxophone probably didn't help - but the Sonata is a very good work. I've always enjoyed it, but obscurity conveys a certain fascination to me, whereas most listeners take it as history's judgment.

About fighting words in the program? I agree they have no place in illuminating music, but there is an urge these days to reach for intellectual or even social relevance.
 
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