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The President’s Own

I was in Washington DC and fortunate enough to listen to a performance by the Marine Chamber Ensembles in the Sousa Band Hall. The Marine Band was established in 1798 and had Sousa himself as their 17th Director who made them one of the first music ensembles to make sound recordings. They only take the top music graduates, have incredible sight reading ability and play very, very tight.

A new saxophone work up up-and-coming composer John Leszczynski was premiered by soprano saxophonists Steven Temme. The three movement work drew its inspiration from a poem by Pablo Neruda with the first movement featuring long, yearning phrases that never quite resolve. The second movement required the utmost control and balance at the extremes of the saxophone registers with the soprano sound melting into the reverberating piano tones. The final movement was a pointillistic hommage to Schubert. A new composer for saxophonists to check out – he's also written a sax quartet.

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