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Creston Concerto

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Creston Concerto

Monday, February 2, 2009 2:17 PM
Author: Cameron Miller

Does anyone know about the history of the Creston Concerto, especially regarding the band version vs. orchestra version?


Re: Creston Concerto
Monday, February 2, 2009 11:45 PM
Author: Ethan Davenport

This is from a variety of sources; I think I can look them up if you wish. Cecil Leeson strongly promoted Creston's music and he convinced a consortium of three instrument manufacturers (Martin, with whom Leeson was affiliated was one of them) each to contribute $33.33 toward a $100 commission. One of the manufacturers reneged and Leeson had to make up the shortfall. Leeson says that he presented the commission to Creston on April 30, 1941 (if I understood Leeson correctly) in New York City and received the Concerto in October. For several reasons, most related to the entry of the U.S. into World War II, Leeson did not present the first performance; that was given by Vincent Abato with the New York Philharmonic, William Steinberg conducting, January 27, 1944. In the World Saxophone Congress Newsletter of October 1970, Creston wrote "My Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 26, thru the insistence of Vincent Abato and many Band Directors, was later scored for Symphonic Band. In that version, it has had many performances with Vincent Abato in particular and college bands all over the country. I had hesitated a long time in transcribing the orchestral part for Band because of the many idiomatic string passages. But when I successfully solved those problematic sections and the saxophone remained the master of the David-Goliath situation, I was convinced more than ever that the saxophone is the preeminent instrument for a Concerto." He then lists his other eleven concertos and concludes "To this day I still believe that my Saxophone Concerto is the most successful of all of them." I assume that Abato gave the first performance of the Concerto with band and would like to know when. Other notable performers have included Donald Sinta with the University of Michigan Band several times on their tour of the Soviet Union in 1961, Jean-Marie Londiex, and Eugene Rousseau, who by my count has performed the Concerto with band on at least eighteen occasions and with orchestra four times. I hope this is useful. I'll be very interested in any corrections or additional information. Tom Liley

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 2:40 AM
Author: Adam Risch

I love this; "I was convinced more than ever that the saxophone is the preeminent instrument for a Concerto." Certainly true. Thanks Tom.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 7:03 PM
Author: Cameron Miller

Thanks so much, Tom!

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