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Trivia Archive

February 2010 Sax Trivia Contest


  • $75 SAXQUEST Gift Certificate ($ 75.00 value)


Peter Rawlings from Amherst, OH US

Contest background

In 1839, Adolphe Sax made his first visit to Paris with the purpose of demonstrating the impressive improvements he made to the bass clarinet. One of the people present for Sax’s demonstration was a well known musician and composer. After seeing Sax’s potential the said person recommended Sax be the bass clarinet instructor at the local conservatory. Although Sax did not take the man’s offer up until 18 years later, the men did quickly become close time friends.

In 1842, Sax returned to Paris with his new invention, the saxophone. On February 3rd of that year a concert was given to showcase the woodwind and brass instruments of Sax’s creation. The bass figures played in the composition were performed by Sax himself on the bass saxophone, which was at the time the only saxophone in existence. It only took a single performance for Sax to inspire his friend to take the saxophone to a new level. Sax’s friend was already an accomplished composer and quickly gained an intimate knowledge of the possibilities of the new instrument. This quote from the said composer is his description of how the saxophone should be orchestrated in regards to range limitations.

Ces trois octaves ne peuvent guere etre employees que par des virtuoses, on fra donc bien de s’en tenir pour l’ orchestre a octave et demie.

The three octaves could hardly be used except by virtuosos, one will therefore do well for the orchestra to stick to 2 ½ octaves. ---- Literal translation

Hector Berlioz was credited as the first person to compose music specifically for the saxophone; however it was Adolphe Sax’s close friend that composed the first saxophone method book which also included new compositions for the saxophone. Sax’s friend even wrote a composition for six types of saxophones before Sax had even made the prototypes. In addition to the newly composed music this book also contained fourteen pages of music from other well-known composers like Mozart and Bellini arranged for saxophone.

Contest Question

Who was the composer and close friend of Adolphe Sax?

Correct Answer

George Kastner

Where You Could Have Found The Answer

The Saxophone Symposium, Spring 1982
Thanks for entering the Saxquest contest!!! Sorry its been awhile since we have updated this. But we have a new contest up and running starting July 1st!!!