Written title - Ian Stewart - composer/musician handwritten

Serenade on Themes from Mozart's Zaïde (Das Serail)

(2 sopranos 2 altos 2 tenors 2 baritones)
(25 minutes)
Commissioned by Martin Williams for his wife-to-be, Gillian Darby, on the occasion of their marriage on 1st February 1985.

1. Allegro
2. Tempo di Menuetto grazioso
3. Allegro assai
4. Un poco adagio : Allegretto
5. Allegro : Reprise

First Performance : 22nd June 2004
Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble
Concert Hall - Royal College of Music, London

Serenade on Themes from Mozart's Zaïde (Das Serail)

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble



Serenade on Themes from Mozart's Zaïde (Das Serail)

Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble


This work was originally composed for traditional wind octet and performed in that version. The work was revised for saxophone octet in 2004.

Notes on different versions of this work:

At Martin's and Gillian's wedding reception, music was performed by a traditional wind octet (2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons and 2 French horns). Themes from Mozart's operas were frequently arranged as serenades for wind octet, however there is not a contemporaneous arrangement for wind octet of themes from Zaide, Gillian's favourite Mozart opera. I was commissioned to compose this serenade for this occassion, in an authentic classical style, the only exception being that I composed for modern valve French horns, rather than the natural horns that would have been used originally.
Unfortunately there are few wind octets performing today so I suggested to Kyle Horch, conductor of the Royal College of Music Saxophone Ensemble, that I recompose this serenade for saxophone octet. As I have been writing much music for classical saxophone, and there are many more saxophone ensembles, this seemed the logical choice.
In transcribing this work I have kept the contrast between instruments that was so much part of traditional wind octet writing; the soprano saxophones play the oboe parts; the altos the clarinet parts; tenors the French horn parts; and the bassoon parts are played by the baritones. The work is written in a classical style and works exceptionally well on saxophones, even though the saxophone was invented many years after Mozart abandoned this opera and left it unfinished. Hopefully these beautiful themes can now be heard more frequently as the original opera is rarely performed.

Review of first performance from Clarinet and Saxophone, September 2004 :

One might not expect Mozart to sit happily on saxophones, but quite honestly, Ian Stewart's Serenade on Themes from Zaïde was so well written and played that any doubts were soon forgotten. There are five movements, the last being a reprise of the first, but using a fugue from the baritones upwards to spice up the material. The Serenade is not a straightforward piece and it's a tribute to the musicianship of the players and conductor that the performance was so sensitive in terms of balance; corners were nicely turned and articulations were consistent and stylish.
Jill Anderson