“The Hunt” or “La Chasse” might well be the first string quartet written by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), also called “the father of the string quartet”. We’ve arranged the complete quartet with 5 movements for SATB. But we also offer the 1st movement for saxophone quartet SATB and AATT. It’s a wonderful cheerful piece of music, both for beginners and more experienced saxophone players. Although it is presto or “in a hurry”, if an intermediate player takes care of the melody, played by soprano in SATB or first alto in AATT, this piece can also be played by less experienced players.
Listen to Haydn: String Quartet op 1 no 1 for Saxophone Quartet:
The backline defines the theme
Haydn composed “The Hunt” when he was about thirty years old. Listening to it, you sense two things in the music that reflect the state of mind of a man of thirty. There is energy and optimism in the melody, but, for the first time, there is also control and restrain in the background as you hear in the tenor and baritone.
This tension makes it such a wonderful piece to play, because there is something in there for everybody to enjoy. Like we said before, Haydn allows less experienced musicians to play the accompanying parts, which nevertheless include the main theme, that defines this piece: the call of the hunting horn. Others can play the more demanding parts.
The joy of a quartet
For about thirty years Haydn worked as a Kapelmeister, or music director, on the estate in rural Hungary of the Estherhazy family, one of the most prominent families of the Austrian Empire. One of his responsibilities was to compose music for the family to play together. The head of the family, Count Morzin, loved music, but some other family members might have been less ambitious.
Haydn knew how to deal with this. In a quartet, no-one can hide in the crowd, so there has to be a variety of parts. And Haydn makes sure they are there. This brings us to the essence of a quartet: the joy of making music with others, which makes you feel connected, with your co-players and with your audience.
Who’s hunting whom?
The German literary giant Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once compared a string quartet to a conversation between four intelligent people. A conversation? Come on, Johann Double-U, you might have made a few immortal contributions to world literature, but reducing music to words, that’s utter nonsense, as you should know by now. And every musician will tell you so. So, saxophone players, when you play Haydns “The Hunt”, we’re sure you have your own ideas as to who’s hunting whom, and why, but please make sure it’s from the heart.
product details for Haydn: String Quartet op 1 no 1 for Saxophone Quartet (1 mvt)
- level: intermediate/advanced
- price: € 9.57 (full score at concert pitch + all parts)
- go to our shop to buy the quartet SATB
- go to our shop to buy the quartet AATT
product details for Haydn: String Quartet op 1 no 1 for SATB (complete quartet)
- level: intermediate/advanced
- price: € 19.57 (44 pp – full score at concert pitch + all parts)
- go to our shop to buy the complete SATB
sample page (transposed) click to enlarge
Shortly after his death in 1809 Haydn’s skull was stolen from his grave by an amateur phrenologist. It was rejoined with his remains in 1954. Listen to this strange story on BBC Radio 4.