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Originations

Double Exposure

Art of the Fugue



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MS101CD - Morsax Music
Compact Disc
Price: $19.99
ORIGINATIONS

Victor Morosco - Soprano Saxophone
Dale Wolford - Alto Saxophone
Geordie Frazer- Tenor Saxophone
Kevin Stewart - Baritone Saxophone

Track	Title                                       Time
1       Fanfare      	                            2:03

Italian Sketches
2       1. La Mattina                               5:28
3       2. Pommerigio                               3:40
4       3. Giorno di Mercato	                    3:25
5       4. Aperitivo                                3:07
6       5. Vallombrosa                              3:50
7       6. Sole di Settembre                        4:19
8       7. Passo della Consuma                      2:56

9       Baroque Blue                                8:03
10      Christy                                     4:49
11      Poco Pazzo                                  2:17
12      Song for R.C.                               6:36


Fanfare: A short piece based on Fourths and Fifths inspired by the Santa Cruz Mountains which I travel through regularly and act as a constant reminder of the mountains I love so much in Tuscany.

Italian Sketches: A seven movement programmatic work encompassing many musical styles which depicts the sights and sounds of a small Tuscan town, the environs of the Casentino Valley, the wonderful people who have become so dear to me, and how I feel being there.

La Mattina (Morning) is in two parts. The first part depicts the darkness of predawn and the gradual appearance of daylight with the sudden awakening by the bells of the church and the clock tower. Bells historically played an important role in much of European life, and I am constantly aware of them when I am there. I use a leitmotif of the bells throughout the movements to capture that awareness. The music progresses through my gradual awakening and the awakening of the town with the sounds of the church chants and shouts of workers organizing for work. The second part is a fugue which reflects the people scurrying about. I use a three note phrase in the beginning of the subject to depict the people giving their morning greeting of, "Buon Giorno". The development of the fugue captures the growing intensity and activity of the town which comes to a very abrupt halt with the sounding of the bells for the afternoon meal and repose.

Pommerigio (Afternoon) reflects the stark quietness of a hot summer afternoon in the town and the ubiquitous drawn shutters warding off the heat. The music has a neo-Baroque/Renaissance quality and employs two sets of duets that represent two sets of lovers in a time suspended afternoon.

Giorno di Mercato (Market Day) in the country side throughout Italy reminds and old tradition of the traveling caravan of merchants which go from town to town on specified days and times. In a matter of minutes the trucks roll into town, their side panels would be open and entire dry goods, shoe shop, delicatessen, or clothing store appears in the piazza along with hundreds of shoppers from the neightborhood. The frenetic movements of men women and children, looking, buying, and bargaining is very exciting. They up and leave just as quickly as they appeared and I go to the bar for an aperitivo and some more people watching.

Aperitivo reflects the hour or so before dinner I would enjoy at the bar chatting with friends and neighbors. Watching and listening to the men play cards and remembering the familiar sounds of my own Italian family now living in America. This hours makes me feel a bit nostaligic and a bit sad because I knew the end of the day was coming, the people would be going home for dinner, and I would sadly have to wait for them to wonderfully reappear the next morning.

Vollombrosa (Valley of Shadows) is a national forest outside of Florence where the magnificent, tall pine trees have so closely grown together that one is plunged into darkness on entering and must turn on the headlights of the car to drive safely. The music in this movement is harmonically, melodically and rhythmically quite different that the other movements in my attempt to capture the verticality of the trees, the resulting darkness, the brilliant shafts of light that occasionally beam through, and overall eeriness that is present, and the furious desire to return once again to the beautiful Italian sunshine.

Sole di Settembre (September Sun): In this piece I try to capture the sadness I always felt at the end of summer in addition to leaving the town to which I have become so attached. The sadness is heightened by the brilliant clear sunshine, the wisps of smoke of the burning fields, and the view from atop the medieval castle, which overlooks the town of Strada in Casentino.

Passo della Consuma is the incredibly twisting mountain road that is the main artery for traffic between the Castenino valley and the city of Florence. The angularity of the thematic material the jerky rhythms reflects the constant turning, braking and sounds of auto horns required to navigate this road. The soaring middle section of the piece attempts to capture the magnificent views and expansiveness one feels on reaching the top of the pass and the town of Consuma itself, only to be followed by the treacherous descent into the valley.

Baroque Blue: A set of variations based on a blues harmonic structure and 12 measure form, influenced by both baroque and jazz music. A prologue consisting of four choruses of a blues line in which each member of the quartet is featured was added to the original piece for dramatic and theatrical effect for live concerts and become a permanent part of the composition.

Christy: A love song of slightly unusual structure, featuring the soprano saxophonist. The soloist has the options of playing the piece as notated or improvising designated sections. In this recording the notated version is used.

Poco Pazzo: The title means, "a little crazy" and is intended as a fun short encore piece. It is a little crazy because although it is written in 4/4 time the musical phrases are predominantly in 3 creating the effect of being slightly off kilter.

Song for R.C.: Is a piece written originally for my friend jazz saxophonist Richie Cole. It consists of two different songs separated by a transition section. The alto saxophone soloist has the option of playing the piece as notated or improvising designated sections. In this recording the notated version is used.



Double Exposure


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MS102CD - Morsax Music
Compact Disc
Price: $14.99
DOUBLE EXPOSURE

Track	Title                                       Time
SONATA FOR ALTO SAXOPHONE and PIANO - Phil Woods
1. I   Slowly - Faster                              9:04
2. II  Slowly                                       3:35
3. III Moderator-Freely                             3:33
4. IV. Freely                                       5:01
Victor Morosco - Alto Saxophone
Michael Lang - Piano

SONORITIES - Joseph Roccisano                    
5. I                                                9:16
6. II                                               7:34
Victor Morosco - Soprano and Alto Saxophone
Fred Seykora - Cello
Joseph Porcaro - Percussion
7. BLUE CAPRICE - Victor Morosco                   7:14
Victor Morosco - Solo Alto Saxophone
THE MUSIC
SONATA FOR ALTO SAXOPHONE AND PIANO by Phil Woods originally titled Four Moods for Alto and Piano, was written for and dedicated to Victor Morosco who first performed it in Carnegie Hall, New York. As an example of the blending of the elements of traditional and jazz music, the Sonata is more than just the juxtaposition of two kinds of music. The composer requires the performers to embellish the written music as well as improvise at given sections, much in the spirit of jazz and in the true tradition of Baroque music. It is performed here in such a manner that the listener is often unsure where the written music stops and the improvisations take over.

SONORITIES for Saxophones, Cello and Percussion was written for and dedicated to Victor Morosco and was conceived as chamber music with the saxophone as a dominant voice blending with the other instruments to form a unified whole. The composer states, "My objective was to create colors, i.e. sonorities, through the use of these instruments in varying combinations, and at the same time produce music having form, continuity and balance. The percussionist plays the role of a catalyst in combination with one or both of the other instruments and his total absence of ambiance."

The piece is divided into two parts using soprano saxophone in the first, and alto saxophone in the second.

BLUE CAPRICE for Solo Saxophone by Victor Morosco was written for this album. The concept of Blue Caprice evolved from the composer's conclusion that the proper companion to Sonorities should be a virtuosic solo similar to a Paganini Caprice but based on the Blues, hence Blue Caprice. The intent was "to capture the improvisation and jazz quality I wanted this album to portray, and what form of American music could be more endemic to jazz than the Blues?"

As such, the work is an anthology of historical jazz was references to Bebop, Gospel, Kansas City, and Chicago styles.

THE ARTIST
VICTOR MOROSCO (1936 - ) received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Juilliard School in New York. His world premiere as a soloist with the Orchestra of America of Harold Faberman's Concerto for Saxophone and String Orchestra at Town Hall in New York City, and with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble in Joseph Schwantner's Diaphonia Intervallum at Carnegie Hall, establish him as one of the foremost exponents of contemporary music for the saxophone. As a member of the Los Angeles Saxophone Quartet, Mr. Morosco adapted the entire Art of the Fugue of J.S. Bach for the Quartet who subsequently recorded it (Protone Records PR143/44).

THE COMPOSERS
The three composers represented are Americans, all saxophonists, who have known each other since their student years and managed to continue their musical relationship. The compositions presented in this album are a direct result of their mutual esteem and are welcome additions to the concert saxophone literature.

Art of the Fugue


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PRCD 1103 - Protone Records
Compact Disc
Price: $15.99
J.S. BACH
THE ART OF THE FUGUE

Victor Morosco - Soprano Saxophone
Harvey Pittel - Alto Saxophone
Roger Greenberg - Tenor Saxophone
Emmett Yoshioka - Baritone Saxophone

Track	Title                                       Time
1       Contrapunctus I	                            2:45
2       Contrapunctus II                            2:47
3       Contrapunctus IV                            4:10
4       Contrapunctus V	                            3:30
5       Canon all Ottava - Alto, Tenor              2:30
6       Contrapunctus VII per Augment et Diminut    3:38
7       Contrapunctus VIII a 3                      5:11
8       Contrapunctus IX alla Duodecima             2:45
9       Canon per Augmentationem - 
            in Contraio motu - Soprano, Baritone    6:10
10      Contrapunctus XII Rectus et Inversus        3:51
11      Contrapunctus X alla Decima                 4:11
12      Contrapunctus XIII a 3 Rectus et Inversus   4:33
13      Canon alla Decima - Soprano, Tenor
            Contrapunto alla terza                  5:02
14      Canon alla Duodecima	- Alto, Baritone
            Contrapunto alla Quinta                 3:02
15      Fuga a 3 Soggetti                          11:14

THE MUSIC

Abram Chasins, musicologist and author, internationally noted for his Baroque research wrote:

In the last hours of a dedicated life, Johann Sebastian Bach realized his ultimate goal of musical "purity" in a final homage to the art of the fugue. In the last few hours of a life dedicated to musical service, James Barrett Welton conceived the idea of this recording which herein fulfilled in loving memory.

This contrapuntal monument, undesignated as to instrumentation, was the crowning achievement of an abstract artist whose physical sight was gone, but whose spiritual sight was firmly fixed upon universality and the eternals.

Protected by Bach's own imaginative daring in his numerous transcripts of his own music and his unhesitating appropriation of other men's music, we may safely guess that the greatest transcriber in musical history would have thoroughly approved of this setting, especially for instruments he did not know. He was always the prophetic artist whose imagination was equal to writing for instruments that either had not yet been invented or developed to the point of fulfilling his obvious intentions.

When Bach himself transcribed, his unique power of organization made the results incomparably more beautiful than the original. This we especially find in his appropriations of Vivaldi whose works he freely utilized without acknowledging their source, in keeping with the conventions of the day. But then, whatever he touched became his; whatever he used, including his own materials, was transformed through his elevated inspiration and flawless technique.

His ability to absorb the styles and methods of his German, English, French and Italian predecessors and contemporaries accounted for his status as a synthesis of the Baroque style as well as for the oblivion of his music for nearly a century following his death in 1750. Bach himself was less fortunate in the transcriptions of his work by others, and also in the posthumous misinterpretations of his original music until quite recently. Bach's art was so deeply rooted in the conventions of the past eras that even as he produced his mature masterpieces, they were already being branded as "old fashioned".

Its widespread revival began with the issuance of the "Deutsche Bach Gesellschaft" (founded 1850) which aimed to issue the mater's complete works based on the original manuscripts. Typical of the well-meaning but misguided 19th century approach to this music so deeply rooted in the 17th century, was its editor's faith in the drastically the musical, theological and social changes of the last half of the 18th century affected the composition, publication and performance of music, so do we now know that the skeletonized scores of Baroque composers are not trustworthy guides to their composer's full expectations and practices as they are with later composers.

The scholarly research of our time has revealed to what degree Baroque practices differed basically for a later day. We must be mindful that this was an improvisational era and that the specific divisions which separated compositions from performance had not yet come to pass. All composers were also performers and all performers were composers. With publication being both rare and extremely expensive, many details of interpretive directions were not indicated in the manuscript, but instead were left to be extemporaneously created by the performer as a test of his imagination and skill.

Today, musicians are fully aware that ornamentation is the most typical (and troublesome) feature of Baroque style. This brings the realization that the Baroque score was but an outline of the composer's intentions, not an authentic document which showed how the composer wanted his work performed nor how anyone performed it. Baroque "urtexts" also indicate how vitally knowlegable ornamentation was expected to affect such crucial matters as melodic progression, consonance and dissonance, and rhythmic design, called "movement".

The fact that ornamentation was left almost entirely to the performer's judgment led to the fallacious conclusion that was purely a matter of individual tastes. Nothing is further from the truth. The contrary is true. Although the performer was free to select from a large number of stylish material, it was very precisely confined to 17th century convention. Its freedoms and limitations were accurately dictated by style; perfectly understood by those trained in its disciplines. Exactly the same practices apply to matters of rhythm and temp. Although Baroque manuscripts reveal practically no tempo indications or dynamic markings, the composer's intentions were entirely clear to performers. The Old Tradition made a distinction between two movements, fast and slow. It was the combination of note values, with the smallest value always treated as the fastest which indicated the overall movement. If the composition consisted of only two note values such as 1/8ths and 1/4ths, or 1/4s and 1/2s, it would be a fast movement. However, if the music were divided into three or more note values, the movement would slow down accordingly.

Undoubtedly, it is the Quartet's respect for the great work which led them to an investigations of the Old Traditions and the assumed the responsibility of becoming creative partners of the composer, an opportunity which the style not only affords, but actually necessitates. It also accounts largely for the expressivity and directness which their interpretation brings to the noble work.

The Los Angeles Saxophone Quartet had its beginnings at West Point, New York, where three of its four members were performers in the Saxophone Quartet of the United States Military Academy Band. While completing their military obligation as bandsmen, the quartet toured the Continental United States and Hawaii. Upon completion of military service, Messrs. Pittel, Greeenberg and Yoshioka, with Mr. Morosco formed THE LOS ANGELES SAXOPHONE QUARTET.


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