EL SUR, Adolf Ventas

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Picture by Adolf Ventas taken from the internet

It is a beautiful piece for saxophone solo composed in an original mix between Spanish classical music and French impressionist music. You will enjoy!

The composer

ADOLF VENTAS (Amposta, 1919 – Barcelona, 2014) was a very prolific performer, pedagogue, composer and arranger. You can read his biography written by Israel Mira and others entitled “Adolf Ventas. Su vida, su música y el saxofón” (in Spanish), published by Rivera Mota (Valencia, 2003).

Ventas, as a composer, intended to enlarge and promote the original repertoire for saxophone. He spread the instrument into the Spanish classical music scene, where it still was a perfect unknown. Since the 1970s, he composed, arranged and transcribed about 80 works for different formations: solo pieces, concertos, saxophone quartets, saxophone ensembles, etc. in addition to works for symphonic band. He also wrote some very interesting methods for saxophone.

Many of his original works are an original combination between the music by Spanish composers as Albéniz and Granados and the modal music by French composers as Messiaen. Ventas’ music sounds fresh, without excessive artifices. His slow movements sound deep and expressive and the fast ones are bright and vigorous.

Details of the work

Publisher: Personal edition
Duration: Around 9:30
Range (written): C3 – A5
TECHNIQUES: Fast excerpts (also detached), diversity of articulations, tonguing accuracy.
PERFORMANCE: Play the fast excerpts and movements with agility and ease.

Meaning and structure

In my opinion, Adolf Ventas still has not been fully recognized among saxophonists from Spain. His methods for saxophone have the same value than many others by European or American authors. I encourage everyone to discover his “Arpegios”, his “Cromatismos” or his “28 Estudios-Caprichos” (listen to some of them here), all of them published by Boileau Edicions, Barcelona. You will enjoy.

EL SUR (South) is a blend of modal melodies and harmonies came from the Spanish nationalism music from the end of 19th Century and beginning of the 20th Century with the colours of French music of the first half of the 20th Century. This work evokes the tone colouring of the traditional music of Andalusia, the southern region of Spain. This little suite in three movements for unaccompanied saxophone was written in 1997 and premiered by the composer himself in October of the same year.

  1. EMBRUJO: It is the slowest and most evocative movement of the suite. It was composed in an A-B-A lied form. The central section has faster notes and allows a more flexible interpretation and with a slightly higher tempo.
  2. MARTINETE: It is a dance with a marked rhythmic character in 7/8 (3 + 2 + 2) with frequent measure changes in 6/8 or 8/8. This dance has its origins in some traditional songs with sounds of forge accompaniment as a martinet, a kind of a pile driver beating on an anvil arranged on a block of wood.
  3. ZAPATEADO: The suite ends with a detached, bright and fast movement in 6/8 beat with the intention of imitating the shoe-tapping (zapateo or taconeo) of this Andalusian dance.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to work on Ventas’s EL SUR with me.


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