Having blogged about the Mi-Bemol Sax Ensemble, a stellar and unique Sax Ensemble, I am enthralled by the power and magnificence of the music. So when JBT of the Woodwind Forum pointed to this I lost about an hour listening to their music. It is interesting to note that they have some trouble getting all the arrangements for music they want because,
One of the biggest problems is that new composers won’t write for saxophone in an orchestra setting because if they want their work to be performed by big named groups (like the LA Phil, NY Phil, London SO, etc.) they also have to be as accessible to these groups as possible, who may have a resident saxophonist around who they call in when a big name like John Adams writes something that has it like in City Noir (my professor premiered that piece).
Marcel Mule and Sigurd Raschèr showed that the saxophone could be taken seriously and used to great effect. Lately the use of saxophone in orchestras is once again dwindling and a real treat when you can stumble across them.
Marcel Mule was known worldwide as one of the great classical saxophonists, and many pieces were written for him, premiered by him, and arranged by him. Many of these pieces have become staples in the classical saxophone repertoire. He is considered to be the founder of the French Saxophone School and the most representative saxophone soloist of his time, being a fundamental figure in the development of the instrument.
Sigurd Raschèr was an American saxophonist of German birth. He became one of the most important figures in the development of the 20th century repertoire for the classical saxophone. Originally a classical clarinetist in Berlin he took up the saxophone during the 1920s to earn a little money playing in the night clubs around the city. Urged by one of his music professors to try playing the music of Bach on the saxophone he brought a new level of saxophone virtuosity to the concert stage, and to foster the development of serious literature for the instrument.
Finding a sax ensemble piece this well performed and orchestrated can be a bit of a challenge. When I find them I tend to dwell there for a while and dream of hearing a group like this live some day.