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Christmas Suite

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/29/17)
Composer: Saxton, Stanley E.
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk
Genre: Modern
Stanley E. Saxton (1904-2002) was professor emeritus of music at Skidmore College. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Syracuse University; he also studied organ with Marcel Dupre and Charles Marie Widor at the American School in Fontainbleau in France, as well as composition with Nadia Boulanger. He held his first church organist job at the age of 12, formed his own orchestra as a college freshman, and toured Europe with Paul Whiteman’s Collegians. A member of the American Guild of Organists, Saxton designed and built many pipe organs in the eastern U.S. He also pursued research in indigenous folk music as source material for compositions, and composed many published works for organ, piano, voice, and chorus.

"Christmas Suite" was published by Harold Flammer, Inc. in 1971. It consists of three movements: "The Magi", "The Shepherds," and "Glory to God."

"The Magi" begins with the phrase: "And there were Wise Men from the East bearing gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I would call this a "mini-march" as the scope and dynamics are restrained. Passages have "echo effects" and there is a nice modal section, with the solo being played on the Solo cor anglais.

"The Shepherds" is quite hypnotic with its "eastern-sounding tonalities" and "overlapping" melodies. The writing is colorful, intriguing and quite fussy. Although the piece "describes" the shepherds, to me, this sounds more like the 3 kings again, especially because of the mysticism that is striking.

"Glory to God" begins with a solo for the Trumpet en chamade, played here on the Solo tuba. The writing is more dissonant, and shows more Dupre influence. This too has a processional feel to it, and it reaches a powerful conclusion for the full organ with double pedal.

The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Saxton teaching at Skidmore College.

TOMORROW: "The Manger Throne" - Charles Manney, arr. Richard Keys Biggs

"Away in a manger" - arr. Robert Edward Smith
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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