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.
Several days ago, Carson Cooman sent me an email saying that he had acquired manuscript copies of a few unpublished works of Saxton, and would I like to "premiere" them! Having played a number of his works, I can say that they have his "fingerprints" on them.
In many ways the manuscripts, which are very clean and easily read, look like "sketches", meaning that I've added many more "details" than appear on the paper. I've changed no notes, other than filling out a chord here and there, and adding an octave below in the pedal once or twice.
"Poem héroïque" was composed in 1992. Despite the title, this is in no way a "festive" piece. It is the piece and emotions of a mature man, not of a youth. It is if the very survival in life is the struggle and the heroic victory.
If you liked these pieces and would like to hear more of Saxton's music, here are links to two other pieces:
(Fanfare and Tuba Tune)
(Church Suite - Passacaglia)
This performance is dedicated with friendship and thanks to Carson Cooman!