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INTRODUCTION

 

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Compared to the traditions and growth of western art music in southern and central Europe before the twentieth century, Sweden's and Swedish composersí contributions can be considered as being of modest dimensions. They have had a fairly insignificant influence on overall trends and developments within western art music. Swedish composers such as Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758), however, provide an harbinger of a musical life to come in Sweden, even though Roman's music remains comparatively unknown around the world. With a more international reputation during his own time, Franz Berwald (1796-1868) appears, even today, as the most internationally recognized Swedish composer. Others, such as Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) and Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867-1942) have taken elements of traditional folk music into their compositions and thereby given birth to a new style of writing among Swedish composers. Allan Pettersson (1911-1980) and Erland von Koch (b.1910) can both be considered among those who have followed upon this tradition and have, during the twentieth century, created a repertoire significantly influenced by Swedish folk music. Among those first established Swedish composers in the twentieth century, Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) is without question, the prominent composer and contributor to the development and appearance of western art music in Sweden. As Hugo Alfvén can be associated with the birth of symphonic music which utilized elements of Swedish folk music, Larsson can be considered the father of the first Swedish saxophone concerto. Written in 1934 and dedicated to Sigurd Rascher (b.1907), it also precedes the most significant saxophone concertos of the entire saxophone repertoire; Alexander Glazonouv's (1865-1936) Saxophone Concerto was premiered in November 25, 1934 in Nyköping, Sweden, with Sigurd Rascher as soloist, to whom this concerto was dedicated. Jacques Ibert (1890-1952) followed in 1935 with the Concertino Da Camera pour Saxophone un 11 Instruments (premiered May 2, 1935) also with a dedication to Sigurd Rascher[1]. According to the complete list of Lars-Erik Larsson's works compiled by Svensk Musik - Swedish Music Information Center (STIM), Larsson's Konsert För Saxofon och Stråkorkester, op.14 was premiered November 27, 1934 in Norrköping, Sweden, two days after premiere of Glazonouv's Concerto. Sigurd Rascher was accompanied by Norrköpings orkesterförening, conducted by T. Benner[2]. Furthermore, Larsson's Saxophone Concerto must be considered one of the primary reasons for the strong and fast growth of saxophone performance in Sweden. Larsson's Concerto encouraged other Swedish composers to write for the instrument and inspired performers to continue to develop the art of saxophone playing.

 

Along with the strong tradition of saxophone playing at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Sweden has developed into a second strong center for performing and development of saxophone playing in Europe. Beginning with Rascher's and Larsson's initiative in 1934, the Swedish saxophone repertoire continued to grow through Rascher's collaboration with other Swedish composers such as Erland von Koch (b.1910) and Werner Wolf Glaser (b.1910). During the late 1950's through the end of Rascher's active years, it expandedÝ further with Rascher's daughter Carina, and their colleague John-Edward Kelly. For the same reason by which Rascher fled Sweden and Europe in 1938, another Saxophonist, Jules de Vries (1905-1981), fled the World war II and arrived in Sweden, replacing Rascher's absence from the Swedish music life during the 1940's and 1950's.

 

Jules de Vries was born in Amsterdam and from the age of ten to seventeen he studied the cello with the Russian cellist Alexander Schuster. His family moved to Norway in 1924, due to inflation and political unrest. In Oslo he started to study the clarinet with B. Valdar. Without formal instruction, he taught himself the saxophone. When Norway was invaded by the German army in 1942, de Vries fled to Sweden. After studying with Marcel Mule in Paris from 1946 to 1948, de Vries began a busy and successful career as a saxophonist, as both a recitalist and an orchestral soloist. He toured continuously for six years, performing a sizable repertoire. He recorded eighteen concertos for radio broadcasts in all of the central European countries, but not in England (which would not grant him a work permit). In 1954, he became afflicted with a severe cramp in his jaw, which brought an end to his intensive six-year career as a saxophone soloist. De Vries then returned to Sweden and played cello as a principal in orchestras and toured the Scandinavian countries performing chamber music. He continued to teach cello and saxophone, and his active life and love of people gave him a great insight as a teacher.[3] For saxophonists in Sweden, De Vries stands therefore, primarily as the originator of Swedish saxophone pedagogy. Between 1973 and 1980, at Ingesunds Musikhögskola in Arvika, Jules de Vries built a strong saxophone class which quite naturally spread influences to Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm. Ingesunds Musikhögskola and Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm have maintained themselves as the two major institutions for saxophone pedagogy and performance in Sweden. Jules de Vries was also the founder of the yearly saxophone symposiums, international master classes and workshops which have been held at Ingesunds Musikhögskola since the 1970's. Players from all over the world have met and exchanged experiences in solo performance as well as chamber music. In addition to Swedish saxophone faculty and soloists, distinguished performers with an worldwide recognition, such as Daniel Deffayet (Paris), Jean-Marie Londeix (Bordeaux), Leo van Oostrom (Amsterdam), Frederick Hemke (Chicago) and Claude Delange (Paris), have over the years been invited as instructors. In 1992 the Saxophone workshop at Ingesund reached its zenith by holding the first Jules de Vries Saxophone competition. Besides international competitions for saxophone held in Geneva every twelfth year, the Jules de Vries Saxophone competition was a unique opportunity for performers to experience a worldwide gathering of musicians, pursuing the art of saxophone playing. The jury itself was constituted on a international basis (Tokyo, Paris, London, Helsinki, Vienna, Berlin and Chicago).

 

Besides de Vriesí importance for the teaching of saxophone, various Swedish composers dedicated compositions for him: Triad (1950) by Göte Carlid (1920-1953), Fem expressioner (1950) by Sven-Eric Johansson (b.1919), Sonatin (1954) by Lars-Erik Sanner (b.1926),Ý Nio solominiatyrer för altsaxofon op. 8b (1953) and Rapsodisk fantasie op. 8a (1953) by Maurice Karkoff (b.1927). These compositions, however, have not established themselves as standard repertoire among Swedish saxophonists. They cannot compete in recognition with some of the compositions written for Rascher, especially the concerto by Larsson. Therefore, de Vries impact on the development of the Swedish repertoire has to be considered as secondary, mainly through his teachings, and will not be discussed further in this document. Rascher's initiative, on the other hand, led to the composing of a concerto which established itself as one of the most significant pieces of the Swedish saxophone repertoire. It is worth an examination of the Larsson Concerto as a point of departure for researching saxophone repertoire in Sweden and by so doing, giving the composer his due credit for creating a significant interest for saxophone playing in Sweden. To accomplish this, it is also necessary to distinguish the composition's background in the tradition of western art music.

 

The overall outline of this document will begin with a biographical overview of Larsson. Significant articles by Larsson, such as ìHur jag börjande,"Musikvärlden,(1946) will be paraphrased or partly quoted. Other articles of biographical value, or published interviews, such as P.G. Alldahl, and others, îDen svenske tonsättarens situation," Nutida musik 14 (n2 1970/71), Bergendal, Göran. "Att flyga som Mozart," Röster i Radio-TV 35 (n.19 1968), Nordström, Sixten, "Lars-Erik Larsson," Konsertnytt (n1 1983/84), will be discussed as well. It must be understood that the translations of quotes by Larsson, as well as paraphrased sections of Larsson's own publication, have been translated as literally as possible. However, Larsson's choice of expressions are often cloaked with well refined dualistic meaning, analogies and/or humor. The author's attempt has been, when possible or appropriate within the translated context, to illustrate Larsson's wittiness by translations that are as comprehensible as possible. Still, the translations do not do full justice to Larsson's unique way of expressing himself.

 

Brief attention will be given to Sigurd Rascher, since it was to him that both this composition and other important concertos were dedicated at the time. Rascherís extraordinary technique made it possible for Larsson and his colleagues to challenge new ranges and ways of expression that other performers had not yet achieved control of. An actual analysis of Larsson's Concerto will follow. The discussion which follows the analysis places the piece in the context of the general development of the concerto genre from 1700 until the time of Larsson's composition.

The chapter "Analysis of Op.14" serves to determine the overall concerto form in traditional terms, asserting that it is associated with the classic period and the Mozartian style of writing. It will not be, however, the intent of this chapter to address specific similarities to any of Mozart's compositions. Rather, the intent is to describe Larsson's compositional procedures and therein determine how this work has come into existence. The analysis will discuss the selection of pitches and the phrase structure as well as the various types of compositional techniques, such as functional harmony in contrast to non-functional harmony, dodecaphonic forms, and poly-tonality. In this way the analysis will distinguish the level of goal-directed motion within certain sections, and discuss how traditional cadential formulas create tension and relaxation. Further, it will discuss how those more or less tonal sections stand in relationship to sections with a weaker tonal center, and whether or not this piece evokes a sense of a specific tonality, or is a blend of a poly-tonal language. The overall intent is to determine in what ways this composition contains classical elements and which compositional features exemplify Larsson's personal tonal languages and style.

 

Since the form of Larssson's Saxophone concerto has strongly neo-classical features, it might be natural to discuss and compare it only with pieces and composers from that period. There is good reason to extend this discussion into covering, more or less, the entire history of the concerto genre. By so doing, it will be possible to discuss Larsson's style of compositional writing in the context of a similar scope of pieces and stylistic awareness with which Larsson was familiar and in which he was educated. It is, therefore, possible to find elements in Larsson's concerto that harken back to the very earliest examples of this genre. There are features as well that are generated from compositional techniques developed during the nineteenth century. The Larsson Saxophone Concerto's relation to the history of the concerto genre will be discussed under the chapter "Op.14 Emerging From the Past."

 

A few concertos have been selected which, in various ways, will be addressed as significant works of the genre. A closer examination and comparison will be given certain works. In the subchapter "Larsson's Adaptation of Early Concerto Forms," the J.S.Bach Violin Concerto, BWV 1042, - the adaptation from the Italian style - will be used as an analogy to Larsson's use of classic elements, as well as Larsson's use of ritornello. C.P.E.Bach's contribution to keyboard repertoire, which gave the instrument a new status both within and outside Germany, motivated an examination of how a new solo instrument was introduced and established, and how that relates to the way in which Larsson introduced the saxophone into the concerto genre. The comparison of C.P.E. Bach's Keyboard Concerto in D major, Wq. 43/2 and the Double Keyboard Concerto in Eb, Wq. 47, with the Larsson Concerto will illustrate modification of early ritornello form, showing features associated with the classic period.

 

Under the "Classical Influences," Larsson's compositional relationship to Mozart will be discussed in the context of Mozart's Piano Concerto in C major, K.503 and the Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622. As a further analogy to Larsson's use of classic elements, the analysis of Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major, op.77 will be presented and compared with Mozart's Violin Concerto in D major no.4, K.218. In this way, the document will be provided with examples which define Larsson's manner of utilizing styles in comparison with predecessors who worked and composed within traditional practices.

 

In the subchapter "The Soloist," the approach to virtuosity in the development of the concerto genre will be discussed. The virtuosity in Larsson's concerto will be illustrated in the context of various classical and romantic solo concertos. The fact that Mozart, as well as Larsson, wrote for an instrument that had not appeared in a solo capacity before in this genre, will be considered in the discussion. Larsson's use of thematic development and unification through transformation will be associated with the use of thematic transformation among composers during the romantic era, discussed under subchapter "Thematic Metamorphosis." The subchapter "There is Virtue in Moderation," will conclude and summarize the chapter "Op. 14 Emerging From the Past."

 

The chapter "Contemporary Influences," will focus on Larsson's relation to atonality and his adoption of Hindemith's compositional techniques. The chapter "Larsson's Offspring in the Saxophone Repertoire," will naturally determine the succeeding outcome, following Larsson's contribution to the repertoire.

 

The "Annotated bibliography of Lars-Erik Larsson," which has served as a research tool will also function as a reference to further readings. The bibliography intends to cover all publications containing writings about or of Lars-Erik Larsson and his music, in order to gain a broadened view of previous documentations and interpretations of Larssonís compositions. All writings referring to any of Larssonís compositions have been included. Only items referring to the saxophone concerto have been included in "discography" and in "Editions of Music." A complete discography and complete list of editions can be obtained through the Swedish Music Information Center - Svensk Musik. A compiled list of published books and articles of and about Larsson has not previously existed. This bibliography is therefore of significance for further research on the composer. Those bibliographies of music that contain analytical reviews or general comments on Larssonís compositions has been included and sorted under books. Bibliographies that only list Larssonís compositions without providing anything but basic information on a particular composition have been excluded. For each category of publication, items are listed in alphabetic order under the author. Items of the same author are listed alphabetically under the title. Where reprints or preceding editions occur, a chronology has been applied.

 

The process of compiling the bibliography has followed the order in which the material is presented, e.g., dictionaries and encyclopedias were first examined, listing those which contain articles under the name of the composer, followed by books, periodicals and journals. Newspaper articles have been located by examining lists of publications found in various periodicals. In addition to brief bibliographies in dictionaries and encyclopedias, RILM and the Music Index were the most successful research tools. The journal Svensk Tidskrift För Musikforskning, listed publications published during particular years, which expanded the scope of periodical and newspaper articles. Svensk Tidskrift För Musikforskning is listed as a research tool but also appears as well under periodicals and journals. The significance of each item for research can be determined by the length of the annotation. Evaluation are based on how detailed and original statements are to be found in a particular item. Items containing interviews or quotes of the composer have been given priority in terms of scholarly value. One-sentence annotations usually indicate that items only contain information that appears in same format or in extended versions in other major books or articles. Annotated items that are not available at Northwestern University have been received in photocopies from the persons and institutions listed under "Acknowledgments." A few Swedish dictionaries are available at the Swedish Museum, Chicago.ÝÝ

 

The two main scholars on Larsson are unquestionably Göran Bergendal and Bo Wallner. In addition to their publications Herbert Connorís writing and interviews with the composer in Svensk musik seems to be of significance. Among Larsson's own publications, the articles "Hur jag började" and "Missa brevis" stand out as historical documentations by the composer. Publications before 1945 appear to be rare, if they exist at all. The major reason for this is probably the lack of prominent Swedish musical periodicals between the middle of 1920's and through the middle 1940's, compared with the existence of Dansk musiktidsskrift (Denmark), Tonekunst (Norway), Musiikilehti and Musiikkitieto (Finland). According to Bo Wallner[4], the policy among Swedish composers active during the 1930's was to not comment, or discuss in writing their own music. Subsequently, very few comments or reviews have been contributed to Larssonís earlier compositions. A small but significant number of articles appeared after the composers death in 1986. Overall, the main scope of significant publications appears during the composer's most active period (1950-1970). One of the purposes of writing this analysis is to make up for the lack of reviews concerning Larssonís Saxophone Concerto, op. 14 and his general style of writing during the early 1930's. Further, the author's intentions are to illustrate the historical context in which this composition appears and to determine what contributions it has made and what effects it has had on the overall saxophone repertoire.

 

 

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[1] Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed. by Nicolas Slonimsky, "Glazonouv, Alexander", ìIbert, Jacques" (New York: Schirmer Books A division of Macmillan, Inc. 1992), p.633, 821.

[2] Svensk Musik - Swedish Music Information Center, Lars-Erik Larsson Verkförteckning April 1994, ( Stockholm : 1994).

[3]Harry R. Gee. Saxophone Soloists and Their Music 1844-1985. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), p. 242-243.

[4]Bo Wallner, VÅr Tids Musik i Norden, FrÅn 20-tal till 60-tal. (Stockholm: Nordiska Musikförlaget, 1968), p.137.