TROIS POUR DEUX, Jeanine Rueff

TROIS POUR DEUX, Jeanine Rueff
Cover of the printed edition

It is a very interesting work originally written for baritone saxophone with lots of rhythmical changes contrasted with lyrical melodies.

The composer

JEANINE RUEFF (1922 – 1999) studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where she was awarded first prizes in harmony, fugue and counterpoint, composition and history of music. As composer, she was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1948.

In 1950, she was appointed accompanist at the Paris Conservatoire for the clarinet and saxophone classes given by Ulysse Delécluse and Marcel Mule’s respectively. She taught the singers’ theory and aural training course from 1960 to 1971, and followed this by taking the harmony course until 1988. Her former pupils include many of today’s conservatoire directors and teachers in regional and national conservatoires as well as universities.

Her production includes a Concerto for Clarinet and a Concertino for Saxophone, a Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, a Concert en Quatuor for Saxophone Quartet, Dialogues for viola and piano, a chamber opera, a Symphonietta, a set of Variazioni for clarinet, a Diptyque for flute, a Sonata for solo saxophone and, as may be expected, numerous didactic works.

Details of the work

Publisher: Éditions Combre, Paris (FRA)
Duration: Around 9:00
Range (written): A2 – G5
TECHNIQUES: Some very fast excerpts. Tonguing and articulation accuracy. Diversity of articulations. Intonation of the medium and treble registers. Multiphonics.
PERFORMANCE: To play with expressivity in the slow and melodic sections. To play with ease and agility on the fast movements. Coordination and intonation with the piano.

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Meaning and structure

Jeaninne Rueff composed TROIS POUR DEUX for (and dedicated to) French saxophone player Jean Ledieu and his wife Odile, pianist. They premiered it at the 7th World Saxophone Congress in Nuremberg (Germany) in 1982. Jean Ledieu made an adaptation for alto saxophone, later.

In general, we can find some style elements from other works by the same composer (Chanson et Passepied, Concertino, etc.) such as some complex rhythms, a great variety of articulations, etc.  Fast movements have a lively and playful character and the slow sections and movements have evocative melodies.

The conjunction between the baritone saxophone and the piano is not obvious at first but it works very well after a few rehearsals. The work sounds like a kind of virtuoso piece due to the variety of rhythms and some fast excerpts.

  1. ALLEGRO WITH FUOCO: The three eighth-notes motif of the very beginning give an energetic character in a kind of dialogue between the instruments. Later, a second theme with more varied rhythms and articulations produces a more playful mood that contrasts the precedent and a still third theme, also fast but more lyrical.
  2. ASSEZ LENT ET EXPRESSIF: This is lyric and evocative movement in an A-B-A form. In the central section, baritone saxophone accompanies the piano with a slurred sixteenth triplets motif.
  3. RAPIDE: The very beginning sounds like the first motif of the first movement, but written in 6/8. The central section is a little bit calmer and contains long notes ​​that drive to multifonics (an element rare to find in the music by Rueff). The main theme evolves into sixteenths at the final to finish the work in a brightness way.

TROIS POUR DEUX would be another good example of work to know and play more frequently. I have nothing against transcriptions from other instruments such as the cello, the bassoon, the bass clarinet, etc., but we baritonists have to spread the best original works of our repertoire. If we saxophonists do not, who will do it for us?

Do you want to work on TROIS POUR DEUX with me? Don’t hesitate to contact me.

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