Cover of the original edition (ca. 1860)

Jean-Baptiste Singelée

JEAN-BAPTISTE SINGELÉE (1812-1875) was a Belgian violinist and composer who used to live in Brussels and Paris as violinist of different orchestras as the Théatre nautique, Orchestre de l’Opéra comique or Théatre Royal. From 1852 on, he moved definitely to Belgium and conducted some orchestras as the Orchestre du théatre et du casino de Ghent or the Théatre d’Anvers.

SINGELÉE composed approximately 140 serious works during his lifetime. His works included two ballets, at least two violin concertos, many fantasies for violin and piano (usually based on the themes as other composers as Bellini, Verdi, Donizetti, Rossini and Weber, as was customary during this period), overtures, dance music and a copious amount of solo pieces for several instruments.

As a longtime friend of Adolphe Sax, SINGELÉE composed 21 works for saxophone and piano and 2 saxophone quartets (his Premier Quatuor, Op. 53, completed in 1857, is very likely the first work ever written for this formation). He wrote 5 pieces for baritone saxophone and piano: Fantaisie Op. 60 (1858), 2ème solo de concert Op. 77 (1860-61), 3ème solo de concert Op. 83 (1862), 7ème solo de concert Op. 93 (1863) and 8ème solo de concert Op. 99 (1864).

Details of SOLO DE CONCERT Nº 2, Op. 77

Roncorp Publications, Inc. (USA). 2 pages. Duration: ca. 3:30. Classic/Romanticism music.

Level: INTERMEDIATE. Range (written): C3 – C5

Technical Skills: Breathing (long phrases). Intonation. Tonguing and articulation accuracy. Some fast excerpts.

Performance Skills: Expressive phrasing in slow section. To perform with easy and agility on the fast section.

Listen to it here:

Comment on SOLO DE CONCERT Nº 2 Op. 77

As I have already commented in previous posts regarding the original repertoire for baritone saxophone and piano (read the Garland Anderson’s, Jeanine Rueff’s and Alain Margoni’s ones), we have to know and indeed spread the original works of our repertoire. If we saxophone players do not, who will do it for us?

The following comment is extracted from the one for the Roncorp publications, by Bruce Ronkin:

Singelée’s SOLO DE CONCERT Nº 2 Op. 77 was used as one of the Paris Conservatory contest pieces in 1861 or 1860. It was dedicated to Monsieur Sax Père, Adolphe Sax’s father, Charles-Joseph Sax (1790-1865) and was published by Sax’s publishing company Chez Adolphe Sax. Adolphe Sax’s main contributions to the development of the early saxophone literature were his active encouragement of other composers to write for his new instrument and his subsequent publication of a significant portion of literature.

This SOLO DE CONCERT Nº 2 Op. 77 contains an opening section of moderate tempo, a brisk interlude, and a fairly rapid final section. The eight-measure introduction, performed by the pianist, is marked Andante and has an almost religious quality to it. In measure 9, when the saxophonist presents the first theme, the tonality of E-flat major has already been established. It remains fixed throughout this section. Avoiding his customary cadenza, Singelée goes directly into the Allegro interlude, which starts in C minor and concludes 9 measures falter on a B-flat major chord that functions as a dominant chord in the original key of E-flat major.

The following section (which is actually two sections with identical tempi) begins in E-flat major and stays in the general vicinity throughout. The second half of this section, which begins al the double bar in measure 73, presents a new melody originally designed to display the Paris Conservatory student’s fingering agility and articulation prowess. The pianist continues to provide a solid harmonic base of steady eight notes. The eleven-measure coda, beginning in measure 104, is composed entirely of tonic and dominant chords.

In the original edition, interpretational markings involving phrasing, articulations or dynamics were omitted.

I encourage you to work on it and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to know more about SOLO DE CONCERT Nº 2 Op. by Jean-Baptiste Singelée.

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