Concerto a Cinque


Click the links below to hear the movements recorded by Alistair Penman.

1st movement
2nd movement
3rd movement
4th movement
5th movement


These pieces were composed by Joseph Boismortier sometime around 1720. They were taken up by the famous French flute player Jean-Pierre Rampal. He recorded all five parts in what some people believe to be the first example of over dubbing on one recording. The recording was taken up by the French Resistance during the war, and was broadcast on the radio as a code to the resistance members. When I was twelve years old I very much enjoyed playing these pieces with my flute playing friends, and when I recently came across an old copy in my music cupboard, I started to wonder if saxophone players would also enjoy playing them. But instead of playing them on five equal saxophones, I thought it would be good to arrange them for two soprano saxes, two alto saxes and a tenor or baritone playing the fifth part. By using the 2 sopranos and the two altos, it becomes possible to get an antiphonal effect during the performance. This is a section of a piece of music sung, recited, or played alternately by two groups. So far I have arranged five movements from two concerti which I hope that saxophone players will enjoy playing. They are probably for more advanced players, who would enjoy working on some baroque type music and learning about the different performance techniques required. Personally I think that saxophones are eminently suited to baroque music because they can create the same family of sound, that you can also get from a brass choir playing this style of music that we hear so often in a church setting.

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