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A Performance Practice Guide for Paul Chihara's "Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra"


This paper focuses on several issues related to performance practice in the Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra by Paul Chihara (1980). Performance recommendations regarding dynamics, altissimo trill fingerings, and correct rhythmic interpretation of the second movement are provided for the solo saxophonist as well as suggestions regarding dynamics for the orchestra. The rhythmic and harmonic influences of Alban Berg's Wozzeck and Elliot Carter's string quartet compositions will also be examined as they relate to the Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra. The Appendix sections include interviews with the composer Paul Chihara, an interview with the dedicatee Harvey Pittel, a list of edition variants, and notes on Chihara's own "penciled-in" revisions.

As it was originally written, the saxophone part required performance on three different saxophones; the soprano saxophone for the first movement, the alto saxophone for the second movement, and the sopranino saxophone for the third movement. Due to the difficulty of obtaining a sopranino saxophone without purchasing the instrument, and at the suggestion of Paul Chihara, the author arranged the third movement for soprano saxophone. Several changes were made to the melody in this revision, which have also been approved by the composer.

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