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Classical Tenor Sax ahhhhhh.

Jamesmac

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I find the Tenor Sax is mostly not suited to playing Music from the Classical and Romantic periods.
As I posted earlier, I find the Tenor much more suited to Jazz and Popular music.
This is a vid I made of Saint Saens The Swan. with Clarinet.
Which IMO brings something to the piece that the Cello
Does not. { and the Tenor seems out of place} Not because its brilliant playing, but because it’s a Clarinet. If I listen to a Tenor Sax play the piece, with a great classical player/sound, im not convinced, to me it is like a square peg in a round hole.>:)
I am curious to hear the thoughts of Jazz Sax players. Not to isolate Classical Sax guys and Gals, but I don’t wish for this thread to become a Classical V Jazz Sax. Argument. Only about music.But if you do both Classical and Jazz, be my guest.
Please feel free to comment.


The Master Tenor Player
http://youtu.be/7Lkcan0X5VA


My little Clarinet
http://youtu.be/Xj3gxv0x6Lo
 

jbtsax

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Very nice performance. You play very musically. Expanding the range of the melody by doubling both the tempo and the octave of the ascending passage is very creative.

I was like you in terms of the tenor saxophone for classical music. I loved the sound of the alto, but classical tenor seemed out of place. Then I heard James Houlik. . . . That's when my mind opened a bit and I came to appreciate that instrument's beautiful voice in a classical setting as well. The clarinet is widely accepted in both the jazz and classical idioms. Just look at Eddie Daniels who plays in both styles equally well. Why not the tenor sax as well. They're both in the same key. :)
 

Jamesmac

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A fine saxophonist, but I thought the interplay with the oboe didnt work, as it would have with the bassoon. The short cadenza was impressive. But when i hear the individual woodwind and horn directly after the cadenza, I am captivated by the individual voices/sounds. Unlike the Sax who seems to be floundering for an identity.
All the woodwind section have an individual voice, like our vegetables. Carrots, tomato, lettuce etc. but to me the sax in an orchestral setting seems to try to sound like bits of the whole woodwind section, and instead of being a carrot or a tomato, becomes more like porridge.
But as a solo instrument with its depth of expressive sound and in the right hands, playing Jazz or music of the 20th century. That's an ideal vehicle for the sax, as I see it.
 

jbtsax

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To each his own. I'm sorry you feel that way about classical tenor playing. The saxophone invented much later than the other woodwinds missed out being part of the standard orchestral literature. There are however some wonderful pieces by Strauss, Ravel, Bizet, and Prokofiev that include saxophone apart from the wealth of concerto literature.

Perhaps becoming more familiar with saxophone in a classical setting will acclimate your ear to accept the sound as a delightful additional color rather than something out of place. Who knows?
 

Jamesmac

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To each his own. I'm sorry you feel that way about classical tenor playing. The saxophone invented much later than the other woodwinds missed out being part of the standard orchestral literature. There are however some wonderful pieces by Strauss, Ravel, Bizet, and Prokofiev that include saxophone apart from the wealth of concerto literature.

Perhaps becoming more familiar with saxophone in a classical setting will acclimate your ear to accept the sound as a delightful additional color rather than something out of place. Who knows?

I dont think the Sax itself minds about being the most popular wind instrument for Jazz and other popular music, but for some people, like myself not quite able to convince on some other musical genre. I love to play and listen to the Sop, Alto and Tenor, but not for all music. Take the Bassoon, its quite happy in a classical setting, and doesnt need to be promininent in popular music, other that to play the clown. Pehaps we shouldnt think that the Sax can fit all tastes and styles.
 

Jamesmac

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The sax has no problem fitting all style as the links below indicate. As far as tastes go that seems to be an individual problem, not a universal one.

Holst Jupiter Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade Ravel Bolero


I find this subject interesting as how some of us can hear an instrument play a particular piece and be totally captivated, but lose interest as to the same instrument playing a different piece. I don't see it as a problem but more as an necessary skill for an arranger or composer. John , I don't understand why you are giving examples of Sax ensembles. There is no doubt that the playing is exceptional, but if it was better than the group of instruments it was written for, we would have Sax ensembles in our concert halls and not orchestras. With so many students of the Sax it's a commercial necessity, to have these transcriptions of the Classics. I used to transcribe lots of stuff for the Clarinet, because I got a bit bored with the tired old clarinet repertory, and I enjoyed the challenge, but when I played the Bruch Violin Concerto I just wanted to play the music, sometimes it came off sometimes it didnt. I have posted the Chopin Fmin concerto .. Slow movt on the forum, playing Clarinet, but I don't think it will replace the piano in the concert halls anytime soon. My motivation for this thread was for a discussion concerning these points as I find the subject interesting.
Jim
 

B Flat

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I tend to feel the same about tenor not being entirely convincing in a classical vein, but Baritone on the other hand seems well suited to both classical and jazz.
Although my preference is for jazz and particularly BeBop, hard Bop for both Tenor and Baritone.
My listening to classical tenor playing is very limited though so I could still be convinced at some point.
 

kevgermany

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Have to say I preferred the tenor to the clarinet - not the playing, but the sound. Seemed to fit better to me. On celloe this piece really needs to bring out the warmth in the instrument, not the edgy tone that it can produce. And in these two recordings, to me the tenor sounded warmer as well.
 

Jamesmac

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Have to say I preferred the tenor to the clarinet - not the playing, but the sound. Seemed to fit better to me. On celloe this piece really needs to bring out the warmth in the instrument, not the edgy tone that it can produce. And in these two recordings, to me the tenor sounded warmer as well.

Hi Kev,
Enjoyed your Holidays. I hope.
It's interesting you should talk about edge in the timbre, I would call it focus in the sound, which for me is what the Classical Tenor is lacking, and every instrument in the orchestra has it. They need it to project. IMO classical composers wrote for this quality, without even thinking about it.
 

Colin the Bear

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The baritone was putting me to sleep till the tempo picked up. Playing fast it seemed to have a bit more personality and sound like a saxophone.

The clarinet is such a versatile instrument. So many changes of tonal colour from bottom to top and you can't miss it's a clarinet.
The tenor and alto playing are very nice and I have respect for the effort talent and work put into getting there but it seems more like a novelty.
Maybe my poor uneducated ear needs it handing on a plate.
 

jbtsax

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Hi Kev,
Enjoyed your Holidays. I hope.
It's interesting you should talk about edge in the timbre, I would call it focus in the sound, which for me is what the Classical Tenor is lacking, and every instrument in the orchestra has it. They need it to project. IMO classical composers wrote for this quality, without even thinking about it.

I would respectfully disagree. The conical bassoon has no "edge" nor does the "English horn". The french horn and tuba in the brass section do not have an "edge" to the sound as well. Prokofiev seemed to think the tenor projected just fine.
 

thesaxman71

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in reply to original question, and having played both classic and jazz tenor i find playing classic tenor extremely low on my list of to 'play again' (unless the money is good of course, mercinary) and 100% on my list of 'not to listen to'..
I am in no way knocking the musical style it is just i find tenor in these settings sound too stuffy, stiff and as Jamesmac stated "a square peg in a round hole"..this is just my view and not the rule but i find in general they are out of place unlike a soprano probably cos players in that setting tend to give it more of an oboe vibe..
 
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kevgermany

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...this is just my view and not the rule but i find in general they are out of place unlike a soprano probably cos players in that setting tend to give it more of an oboe vibe..

Probably explains my viewpoint - I used to love oboe. But after discovering sax I went right off it - too squawky, much like many alto saxes. Sop can be even worse.... Each to his own!
 

kevgermany

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Hi Kev,
Enjoyed your Holidays. I hope.

Yes thanks, great to get away.

It's interesting you should talk about edge in the timbre, I would call it focus in the sound, which for me is what the Classical Tenor is lacking, and every instrument in the orchestra has it. They need it to project. IMO classical composers wrote for this quality, without even thinking about it.

I think it's easy for tenors and altos to get lost in an orchestral setting. Tenor more so. I don't think it's lack of projection, more they blend in too well. As soon as the orchestra shuts up both can be heard well throughout the concert hall.

I agree with JBT about edge, and would add the French horn to his list.
 

Jamesmac

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Probably explains my viewpoint - I used to love oboe. But after discovering sax I went right off it - too squawky, much like many alto saxes. Sop can be even worse.... Each to his own!

Jack Brymer. Great English Clarinetist ( for me in his early years) said that he found the Soprano Sax to be the most Classical of all the Saxes. I tend to agree.
PS. I forgot to add, as well as playing 1st chair for the London Sym. for a few decades, he also played sax.
 
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jbtsax

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I think we have pretty much exhausted this subject. Why don't we talk about an instrument that is really out of place. . . . a violin trying to play jazz swing.
 

thesaxman71

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I think we have pretty much exhausted this subject. Why don't we talk about an instrument that is really out of place. . . . a violin trying to play jazz swing.
or a bassoon trying to play funk fusion jazz? or heavy metal tuba? i could name so many and the list could spiral out of control i feel...
 

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