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.
"Carol Rhapsody" was published by Stanley Saxton in 1931. It is: "Respectfully dedicated to Mr. George Foster Peabody."
At the top of the score, Saxton writes: "The thematic material for this Rhapsody is drawn from the Christmas Spiritual, 'There's a Star in the East'. The pastoral like middle section is devised to retain the harmonic and melodic characteristics of the original Spiritual in the accompaniment, the solo being a free obligato."
Like many of these editions, there are numerous small mistakes, particularly in terms of "rhythm" where the beats just don't add up properly.
The work moves through a number of varied sections, with diversity in colors and dynamics. A grand climax is achieved before the work ends quietly and in a similar manner in which it began.
THANKS to Carson Cooman for these very rare scores.
A photo of Stanley Saxton is attached below.