You are on page 1of 5

Analysis - Claude Delangle - Sonata Paul Creston1

Born in the city of New York within a modest family of Sicilian immigrants under the name
Giuseppe Guttoveggio, Creston was a precocious and self-taught composer mainly due to the
financial difficulties of their families. At the age of eight he started taking piano and violin
Forced to abandon his musical studies to support his family financially, young Guiseppe
alternated his work in banks and insurance companies as diverse studies such as English,
foreign language, mysticism, piano and composition. His first job as a musician got in 1926 as
organist at theaters where silent films occupation in which he remained until 1929 were
exhibited. In 1934 he was hired as organist at St. Malachy's Church in New York, a position he
held for more than thirty years, until 1967.
Creston in 1940 was accepted as a teacher of piano and composition Cummington School of the
Arts in Massachusetts. During this decade also he composed several scores for radio and
television, for which he won several awards, including the New York critics for his First
A prolific author, during the decade of the fifties over thirty new works of authorship were
released. His international fame spread and his music, along with that of George Gershwin and
Samuel Barber, was the most frequently performed of an American composer abroad. From
1956 to 1960 he held the position of president of the American Society of Composers and
In the late sixties, the music of Creston began to fall into pessimism and darkness and lost its
dominance in the scene before the works of young and avant-garde composers. Creston felt
bitter about the way he was taking the music but, despite this, continued composing and in 1982
Anlisis - Claude Delangle - Sonata Paul Creston

even released his Sixth Symphony for Organ at the Kennedy Center in New York.
In 1975 Paul Creston retired from all his teaching, living in a ranch afuertas of the Californian
city of San Diego until his death in 1985 victim of a cancer that had been diagnosed a year

Style and compositions

His work tends to be slightly conservative and strongly tonal in style and with a strong rhythmic
component. Its catalog includes, among other works, six symphonies, two concertos for violin,
one for marimba, one for two pianos, one accordion and one for alto saxophone, a fantasy for
trombone and orchestra and a rhapsody also written for alto saxophone famous virtuoso
Jean-Marie Londeix. Some of his works are inspired by the work of the poet Walt Whitman.
Creston was also a remarkable teacher. Among his pupils are the composers John Corigliano
and Charles Roland Berry and jazz musicians Rusty Dedrick and Charlie Queener. He is also
author of the books of music theory Principles of Rhythm (1964), Creative Harmony (1970) and
Rational Metric Notation (1979).

Paul Creston Sonata By Claude DELANGLE

When Giuseppe Guttoveggio who choose later the pseudonym of Paul Creston, composed in
1935, the Sonata for alto saxophone and piano Opus 19, I could not imagine who would become
one of the most performed works in the repertoire. Dedicated to American saxophonist Ccil
LEESON (which CRESTON accompanied in the 30s), this well-known piece is played by most
saxophonists. We thought it useful to have some data collected here and there, mainly with
American colleagues, including Steve MAUK, who worked several times with Paul CRESTON

The indications given by the composer at the beginning of each movement are essential for the
First move:

"With vigor

Second movement:

"With tranquility"

Third movement:

"With gaiety"

In the first movement, the first item, which is very "square", in contrast to the second, wider and
From the first bars of the second movement, the listener clearly perceives the feeling of
tranquility that CRESTON suggested by simple melodic staircase accompanied by a regular
ternary harmony. From Compass 15, when the piano part becomes more active, saxophonist can
play with more intensity. Try not to fall during the piano bar 31. Only two measures will
decrease later. In the third movement, the interpreter should reflect the indication "crisp" (crisp,
vivid, accurate) carefully. CRESTON said that the mordant to be played like a snap. Thus, the
joint should be light and strong. Care: an accent is done by the sudden increase in air speed, not
hit harder language. The composer recommended that mordents not exaggerate, so do not make
heavy sentence. Indeed, black with mordant includes three types of accents: hue, duration and
ornamentation. Note the large number of indications of nuances "pp" and "mp" encouraging the
interpreter to find an almost undisguised intensity. These passages contrast with the most
explosive parts having sudden crescendos.

The tempo is a very important aspect of interpretation. In 1976, during a master-classes in
ITHACA COLLEGE MUSIC in the class of Steve Mauk he asked to change tempo indications
(too fast to your taste) the second and third movement. He reiterated these same tips GAP in
1978, where he was a member of the jury of the international competition. The second
movement can play approximately 52-56, and the third at about 144; Rainfall miss the lightness
and transforms this movement in a brilliant study.

The first movement presents major fluctuations tempo. The first part of this movement sounds
better between 108 and 112. The second issue is freer than the first; This tempo allows the
pianist play flexibly harmony with sixteenths. The bars 10 and 12 should be carried by light
rallentando to this new tempo. This interpretation calmer, freer, the pianist can keep throughout
their little interlude; recovers energy from the beginning to the bar 27. Thus, saxophonist can
start accelerating fast leading to the original tempo at bar approximately 29. This tempo is
maintained until the "retard slightly" (slight ritardando) Compass 55, allowing resume second
issue its own tempo (108-112). The indication "a shade slower" Compass 72 (a slow pinch) goes
very well to 100-104. Compass 79 to 84, the tempo is accelerated to the initial tempo, 126,
which will remain after the ritardando, until the end of the work.
In contrast to the complexity of changes of tempo of the first movement, the second evolves
much more gentle way. However, a slightly slower tempo allows a slight accelerating to reach
the peak, with a slight rallentando just before it. In addition, part of saxophone contains some
errors: in bar 26, missing the word "retard" (ritardando) and in bar 27 the expression "a little
broad" (a bit wide) is omitted. These three additional indications are particularly important to
strengthen the intensity of climax. Without them, the active part with arpeggios that begins at
measure 28 for the piano would be hasty. In this second movement, marked "in time" always
means going back to the original tempo. In the third movement, it is always kept the same
tempo. Only the words "hold back slightly" (hold or yield slightly) in bar 285 of the piano part
interrupts a metronomic interpretation. The nuances, joints, accents and trills give more shape to
the movement that changes in tempo.

This work CRESTON exploits all possible nuances of the saxophone, from pp to ff. Respecting
these nuances correctly is one of the keys to the interpretation of the work. The use of English is
a very exceptional case in the repertoire ( "increase" - crescendo - "increase slightly" - little
crescendo-, "less loud" - less strongly, "increase Gradually" - progresivo- crescendo,
"diminuendo" - diminuendo progresivo-, "diminuendo quickly" - fast- diminuendo, "hold back"
- retain, transfer - and "hold back slightly" - retain lightly). In the second movement (softer)
"softer" refers not only to the intensity, but also the color. Should return to a more interior

interpretation before the crescendo that will lead to climax. Another important nuances
concerning aspect is the use of accents, whereby CRESTON shows how likes to change the
metric without changing the time signature. Thus, in the third movement, the auditor often
perceived a different compass rebound press. But in the first movement, compass 44 to 51,
Creston uses accents that transform metric 4 beats in a measure 3 and sometimes 5 times. Thus,
the interpreter must ensure that marks with sufficient vigor these accents and emphasizes that no
other notes that are in the strong beats of the bar.

Both GAP and the master-classes, CRESTON stressed the importance of the ornaments on the
first and third movement. These ornaments, under no circumstances should play before time;
They are designed to be played on the time as in the Baroque style.

This work is often studied from the sixth or seventh year. At this level, students are unfamiliar
with the treble register. The first movement sobreagudo sun can sometimes be a hindrance.
Fingering: TA C5 with octave key allows a very stable emission. With this nuance, the pitch
is perfect. You can prolong slightly the previous fa and do not breathe in the previous silence.
You should pay particular attention to the pitch in the second movement. For this, the
saxophonist can approach the piano to soak up the harmonies. For the last note of this
movement, it is chosen, depending on the saxophone, on her side or only the left index finger.