A string quintet can be rather intimidating. It’s not just a quartet with an extra viola or cello. It requires a lot of skill from the musicians to bring all the voices to life and at the same time keep the balance within the ensemble. This also applies to the saxophone quintet. So here’s a real challenge for the brave ones: the first movement (allegro moderato) of Mozart‘s String Quintet no 1 for a saxophone quintet SATTB.
Here are four new arrangements in our series of the two-part Bach Inventions. We’ve arranged Invention no 4 for saxophone duo combinations: alto-tenor, soprano-alto, soprano-baritone and tenor-baritone.
Mi Buenos Aires Querido (My beloved Buenos Aires) is a very popular song from Carlos Gardel’s movie Cuesta Abajo (Downhill) from 1934. The picture on the left shows a scene with Gardel and sultry Mona Maris. The movie is about a man who has left behind everything he loved for all the wrong reasons and has finally come to regret it. The song is a homage to Buenos Aires. We have arranged this tango-canción for saxophone quartet SATB and added the chords.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is a labor of love, dedicated to one of the composer’s students. Beethoven was a man with very strong emotions and a temper and you can hear that. The piece starts subtle, but not feeble, and mesmerizing, and builds up towards a powerful climax. We have arranged the well-known 1st movement of this piano sonata for a saxophone quartet SATB and AATB.
We continue our series of Bach Inventions with number 7. Of course it is a two-part invention, but we have arranged it for saxophone quartet SATB. It is interesting to look into the manuscripts and learn something about the evolution of Invention no 7. In an early version it was 21 bars long with three segments of equal length. But Bach altered the last segment and it was extended into 23 bars. Well, thank you, Johann Sebastian. Two more bars of sheer genius!
Tchaikovsky’s inspiration for the second movement (the beautiful andante cantabile) of this String Quartet was a tune he once heard a house painter whistle. That’s why you probably won’t forget it and even like to hum or whistle it. We have arranged it for saxophone quartet SATB and AATB. The quartet premiered in 1871 and has become one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular pieces. When it was played on a concert in honor of Leo Tolstoy, the writer, listening to the second movement, he burst into tears. What is the secret?
Listen to Tchaikovsky: String Quartet op 11 no 1 for Saxophone Quartet
Gaúcho or Corta Jaca, written by Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935), is a great classic of the choro repertoire. It was one of the songs Gonzaga wrote for the operetta Zizinha Maxixe, opening in 1895. It’s a maxixe, a musical sub-genre of the choro, and also an energetic Brazilian two-step tango. Gaúcho became an instant hit in cafés, theatres and among choro groups, and was even performed on guitar in Rio’s presidential palace by the first lady, Nair de Tefé. This caused a scandal among the elite because the music and the dance were considered vulgar and lewd. We have arranged Gaúcho for saxophone quartet SATB and AATB with suggested solos.
El dia que me quieras (“The day you will love me”) is one of the most beloved songs of the famous Argentinian singer Carlos Gardel. It’s the title song of his film of 1935, which is, according to many critics his best one. Gardel (nicknamed El Zorzal Criollo, the creole nightingale) and his lyricist Alfredo Le Pera are considered important innovators of the tango, by their creation of the tango-canción. They added superb lyrics to the powerful music. By the way, the other great innovator of the tango, Astor Piazzola, plays a news paper boy in El dia que me quireas. We have arranged the song for a saxophone quartet SATB.
Casta Diva, from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Norma, is one of the most famous arias for soprano. A classical evergreen. A singer must have absolute control of the voice and a flawless technique to deliver the beautiful, intense melody. Only then the listener can grasp the emotional content. This is bel canto for the fearless. We think it is also suited for a saxophone quartet since the saxophone sound is so close to the human voice. We have arranged Casta Diva for SATB with the soprano, alto and tenor taking turns in the melody. The baritone provides the solid base.