Faust (concerto)

Instrumentation: Solo Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra
Playing time: 24' 30
Copyright 1993
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FAUST, a concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra, takes inspiration from both Goethe’s epic work and the many 19th century musical settings, some of which are quoted in The Temptation and Devil’s Play.  The concerto has five movements:  1. “The Temptation” is followed by the three main characters in Goethe’s Faust: “Persona 1: Yearning” presents Dr. Faust and his dissatisfaction with his lot in the world; “Persona 2: Virtue and Anguish” presents Margaret; “Persona 3: Devil’s Play offers Mephisto and all of his trickery.  The final movement, “Appotheosis,” does not follow the traditional ascent to heaven or descent into hell, but but offers a peaceful continuation of uncertainty.

FAUST exists in three versions:  this 5-movement concerto, a 3-movement saxophone quartet, and a 2-movement piece for alto saxophone and 3 celli (or cello orchestra).  The piece was written for saxophonists John Sampen, Luc Schollaert, and Paul Wehage, with support from the McKnight Foundation Fellowship Program administered by the Minnesota Composers Forum.  The concerto is recorded on “Jean-Pierre Baraglioli” by Jean-Pierre Baraglioli, alto soloist, and the Orchestre Philharmonique De Chambre De Lettonie, conducted by Valery Avramenko, Dapheneo 9709.  The sax quartet is recorded on “NEW” by 4UATRE, Dapheneo 9703, and on “Ange & demon” by Quatuor Marquis de Saxe, Artlab 01988.

The first recording below includes movements 1, 2, and 3; the second recording has movements 4 and 5.