Canfield: Martyrs for the Faith for Alto Saxophone and Symphonic Winds (score and parts)
Code: JP6022 ISMN: 979-0-3019-0589-0
This concerto is cast in the traditional three movements, each of which commemorates a particular martyr for the Christian faith. However, each of those commemorated represents a whole host of others, likely numbering in the hundreds of thousands at a minimum. The first movement celebrates Polycarp (69-155), who represents all of the martyrs slain by the civil magistrates of their day. Challenged by the Roman proconsul to revile Jesus Christ in order to obtain his release, Polycarp stated, 'For 86 years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?'This movement is based upon an actual 2nd-century Christian hymn, first heard in the solo saxophone entrance, beginning off-stage, and getting louder as the soloist walks to the front of the ensemble.
The second movement, entitled Gaspard de Coligny, commemorates all those who have been martyred by others in the name of religion. In the case of Coligny (February 16, 1519-August 24, 1572), it is all the more sobering to consider that he and the other Huguenots who were slain for their Christian faith during the massacre of St. Bartholomew were killed by others professing Christianity themselves. Heard in this movement is a hymn tune composed by Louis Bourgeois, the great Huguenot hymn writer (and best known for his tune for Old Hundredth). This tune makes its appearance in the middle section of the movement, depicting the massacre. Coligny, shortly before he was killed, affirmed his faith, saying, 'I am ready steadfastly to suffer that death which I have never feared and which for a long time past I have pictured to myself. I consider myself happy in feeling the approach of death and in being ready to die in God, by whose grace I hope for the life everlasting.'
Jim Elliot (October 8, 1927-January 8, 1956) was one of a group of five missionaries, with their wives, called to preach the gospel to the Waodani (sometimes referred to as Auca) Indians in Ecuador. After seemingly successful initial contact, he and his co-laborers were martyred in a spear attack. Thus Jim Elliot and his colleagues can be considered to represent all of those who have been killed in their efforts to bring the Christian gospel to unchurched peoples. He is remembered for his statement, 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose,'an expression of his faith found among his papers after his death. Heard in this movement are a few phrases of his favorite hymn, We Rest in Thee, along with phrases of the hymns used in the other two movements. Their use serves as more than a musical unifying device, but also suggests the historical continuity of the Christian faith from the apostolic times until the present day.
This edition for wind ensemble accompaniment has parts for piccolo, flutes 1-2, oboes 1-2, English horn, clarinets 1-4, bass clarinet, bassoons 1-2, 1 each of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone, horns 1-4, trumpets 1-3, trombones 1-3, euphonium, tuba, double bass, timpani, mallets, and 3 percussion. The set includes parts (including solo saxophone) and full conductor's score. The flutes, clarinets, euphonium, and tuba each have parts for 2 stands included; the remainder have 1. Extra parts may be ordered separately if needed by contacting Jeanne, Inc.
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Martyrs for the Faith for Alto Saxophone and Symphonic Winds is also available separately in a smaller-sized study score and solo saxophone part (JP6023).