TROIS POUR DEUX, Jeanine Rueff

Jeanine Rueff

JEANINE RUEFF (1922 – 1999) studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where she was awarded first prizes in harmony, fugue and conterpoint, composition and history of music. Her student days culmined in 1948 with the prestigious Prix de Rome.

In 1950, still at the Paris Conservatoire, she was appointed accompanist for the clarinet class given by Ulysse Delécluse as well as Marcel Mule’s saxophone class. 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 works include 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.


Editions Combre, Paris (F). 8 pages. Duration: ca. 9:00. Neoclassic.

Level: INTERMEDIATE-HIGH. Range (written): A2 – G5

Technical Elements: Some very fast excerpts. Tonguing and articulation accuracy. Diversity of articulations. Intonation of the medium and treble registers. Multiphonics.

Performance Skills: Play with expressivity in the slow and melodic sections. Play with ease and agility on the fast movements. Coordination with the piano.

TROIS POUR DEUX, Jeanine Rueff

Personal comment on TROIS POUR DEUX

As I already wrote in a previous post about the original repertoire for baritone saxophone and piano, TROIS POUR DEUX would be another good example of work that should be known and played more frequently. We baritonists usually spend lot of time looking for some good pieces for other instruments with the same range as the cello, the bassoon or the bass clarinet to transcribe them, and we don’t realize that there are some original works that it worth discovering and spreading them. If we do not do it, who is going to do it for us? (Hey, I think that it could be a good topic to write a post in the future!).

TROIS POUR DEUX fits well for an intermediate saxophone student (or player) with enough experience in the baritone who would like to prepare an access to a Bachelor degree or, for instance, a Bachelor student who would like to enlarge his/her repertoire for baritone and piano. This is a good study work to implement the technique of the instrument that fits also very well into an audition or concert.

In general, in TROIS POUR DEUX we can find some style elements from other works for saxophone by the same composer (Chanson et Passepied, Concertino, etc.) such as some complex rhythms (not always easy to assemble with the piano, by the way), a great variety of articulations and fast groups that give the sections and fast movements a lively and playful character. In the slow sections and movements, we hear almost evocative melodies that contain slurred intervals that are not always easy to play without a good air column.

  1. ALLEGRO WITH FUOCO (185 bars, ca. 3:30): The three eighths motif of the very beginning of the movement give it an energetic character (the notes are accentuated and loud) in a kind of dialogue between the piano and the baritone saxophone. A little bit later, a second theme (with more varied rhythms and articulations) appears to produce a more playful mood that will also contrast between the precedent and a still third theme, also fast but more lyrical. These themes will appear throughout the movement, which concludes with the first theme. Rhythms and composed measures give some complexity to the conjunction between both instruments.
  2. ASSEZ LENT ET EXPRESSIF (78 bars; ca. 3:30): This lyric and evocative movement in an A-B-A form requires a good control of the air column that allows playing pp with a large sound in the low and treble registers in addition to a good intonation in the medium and treble registers. In the central section, baritone saxophone accompanies the piano with a slurred sixteenth triplets motif.
  3. RAPIDE (121 bars, ca. 2:00): The very beginning sounds like the first motif of the first movement (the three eighths that generate the first theme), although the measure is 6/8. The central section is a little bit calmer because of the long notes ​​that drive to multifonics (an element rare to find in the music by Rueff) whose fingerings should be verified (I have my own fingerings that sound closer to the written notes). The main theme evolves into sixteenths at the final to finish the work in a brightness way.

The conjunction between the baritone saxophone and the piano is not obvious at first but it works very well after a few rehearsals and becomes a kind of virtuoso piece for the audience because of the variety of rhythms and some fast excerpts. TROIS POUR DEUX was written for (and dedicated to) Jean and Odile Ledieu and they also premiered it at the 7th World Saxophone Congress in Nuremberg (Germany) in 1982. The saxophonist Jean Ledieu made the adaptation for alto saxophone from the baritone original part.

If you want to know more about the TROIS POUR DEUX, don’t hesitate to contact me.


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