• Richard Rodney Bennett
  • Saxophone Quartet (1994)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet

  • 4sx (SATBar)
  • 4sx (SATBar)

Programme Note

I have always been familiar with the use of the saxophone in jazz, but it was not until I wrote the music for BBC television's Television Is the Night that I thought about using the instrument in a more classical context. I was lucky enough to have the important solo saxophone part in that score played by John Harles; from then on my attitude to the saxophone changed entirely. John commissioned my Sonata for Soprano Saxophone and Piano (premiered at the Purcell Room with duo partner John Lenehan on 23 November 1988); this was followed by some sketches for this Saxophone Quartet, and then by the Alto Saxophone Concerto, written between July and September 1988.

The (tenor saxophone) Concerto for Stan Gatz followed, written at that player's instigation but premiered in his memory by John Harle in the 1992 Proms, before I returned to the Saxophone Quartet.