Saxophone Sonata

I. With Vigor

Composer : Paul Creston
Title : Sonata
Period : 20th Century

Sonata Op.19 for Alto Saxophone & Piano by Paul Creston (1939). This well-known piece, played by most saxophonists, was written for the American virtuoso Cecil Leeson. The three strikingly different movements are nonetheless held together by fragments of melodic material although always presented in a new harmonic template.

The first movement begins with a bold melodic statement from the saxophone, aided by interjections from the piano before developing into a sweeping line utilising a substantial range of the saxophone.  This quickly gives way to the more lyrical second subject, supported by a slight slowing of the harmonic rhythm.  An extensive development follows before a veiled recapitulation concludes the curtailed-sonata-form of this movement.  By the end we have been introduced to the type of rhythmic displacement we will hear more of in the final movement.  This movement is full of energy and is imbibed with an intensity that drives the music ever forwards.