There is no question, however, that Berlioz, who often referred to Adolphe Sax in his writings/letters, proved to have an enormous impact on the successes of Adolphe Sax.
They became “bons amis.”Consistent with numerous sources, it is clear that Sax intended the saxophone to serve as an improved bass orchestral instrument.
Some classical works employ the saxophone as a solo instrument in settings that include orchestra, wind band, and piano; some use the saxophone (or saxophones) as an orchestral voice, often featuring the instrument prominently as a solo voice (the stunningly beautiful saxophone solo in movement one of Rachmaninoff’s comes immediately to mind); and some integrate the saxophone into various chamber music settings (Webern, Villa-Lobos, Milhaud, Warren Benson, for example).
The number of classical saxophone works keeps growing, and those interested in exploring that tradition might wonder where to start.
His work in acoustics was widely praised, and his acoustical studies led him to propose a concert hall design influenced by the parabolic form (early saxophones were parabolic cones, while modern saxophones are conical). Sax, who was part of a large family, experienced an abundance of hard knocks, his misfortunes characterized by numerous serious business (and health, social, and political) difficulties, including bankruptcies.
He was accused of stealing the idea of the saxophone from others; trouble seemed to follow him, and he faced serious competition from other music instrument makers. For example, the eventual inclusion of the saxophone in military ensembles proved extremely noteworthy, and prior to moving to Paris in 1842, Sax’s introduction to the influential French music critic-composer-conductor-author, Hector Berlioz, was a crucial turning point.
Interestingly, the first influential American to have performed solo saxophone music with an orchestra in a concert hall was a woman, Elise Hall (1853–1924).
Popular in rock, rhythm and blues, and funk, the saxophone has become one of the most important instruments in jazz.
In the classical world, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Bizet, Berg, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Ibert, Britten, Debussy, Villa-Lobos, Penderecki, Milhaud, Glazunov, and George Gershwin are just a few of the composers who wrote music for the instrument.
The history of the saxophone in classical music is as old as the instrument itself.
The story behind its birth is a colorful one, due in no small measure to the prismatic inventor of this incredibly flexible instrument.