Ernst von Knorr- Introduction fur drei saxophone

Music lovers uniting for the joy of playing together, it is an old story: string quartet, brass choir, recorder consort, woodwind quintet, etc. and of late groups of saxophones. That it took so long before the saxophone quartet has become a respected form of chamber music might be surprising, especially since Leon Escudier wrote already in 1844 "There could actually be a quartet of saxophones. Here is a new world opening up for instrumental art." (La France Musicale, Paris, Jan. 7, 1844) Still, the growth of original music for groups of saxophones was sporadic. In Germany, to my knowledge, only Gustav Bumcke recognized the new possibilities and encouraged his students to play in groups. For that purpose he even composed a few pieces. In 1931 I came to Berlin. A saxophone player, aiming to be a concertizing soloist was a surprise. "With an instrument, suited for and used almost exclusively in entertainment music?, let's hear!" I was often invited to play in house concerts, in chamber music concerts, in the local radio station, even in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to take care of a saxophone part in a work by a guest conductor. That I met many influential musicians goes without saying. One of them was Ernst Lothar von Knorr, who promptly invited me to teach at the Volksmusikschule Neuklin. This was a school, unlike a college or a conservatory, a school for the benefit of music lovers, not aiming eventually to become professionals. In keeping with this aim students often joined forces for an evening of music, open to the public. Now and then members of the faculty cooperated, while I sat on the side. Von Knorr changed that with his Sonata for Saxophone and Piano. But my students could still not join the fun and now von Knorr gave us the little Trio. We had alti and a tenor, hence, there is no baritone in this work. And since this Trio, unlike the aforementioned Sonata was written for my students, demands on the players are modest. But as we might know --think of Hindemith's Plner Musiktag-- such voluntary limitations do not prevent a good composer from giving us enjoyable music.

Sigurd M. Rascher

September 1993

copyright Sigurd M. Rascher 1993

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