Theodor Kirchner was a highly regarded musician, composer and arranger whose career sadly did not live up to expectation because of personal failings. The trio arrangements of Schumann’s Studies in Canon date from 1888. In this arrangement for soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone and piano the imitative and canonic features of the music are very evident in the sharing of the lines between the instruments. The German term «Min innigen ausdruck » meaning with ‘heartfelt expression’ is used to describe the mood of the music at the beginning of the movement although the music editor has favoured the use of Italian terms in the score detail. There are some octave transpositions in the soprano saxophone part to accommodate the range of the instrument. Parts for both saxophones appropriately transposed are appended to the full score.
The Studies in Canon Opus 56 of Schumann are excellent pieces for the music student because they refererence music of the past with the chromatic language of the romantic period and are appealing to play. The Opus 56 collection can be appreciated on so many levels and the pieces exist in a number of different arrangements. This is music that re-invents J.S.Bach style than directly imitating or copying it. The playback score or realisation is clearly not as nuanced as a live performance. The texture is straightforward to understand in that there are two melodies exploring the canonic and imitative aspects of the music, a chordal accompaniment and a bass line. The realisation plays back at 63 dotted quarter note beats to the minute notes to the with the occasional slowing down or rit. The score detail in place in the sheet music score is particularly relevant to the tonal qualities of modern instruments. In addition to Schumann’s the original composition for pedal piano there are many arrangements of the Opus 56 collection namely Georges Bizet’s for piano duet and Claude Debussy’s for two pianos. The use of the sustaining pedal whilst recommended has not been indicated in the sheet music score. There is also opportunity to explore tempo rubato in a performance. In romantic music this refers to the give and take (speeding up and slowing down) as far as tempo is concerned.
The mp3 accompaniment downloads available enable players to enjoy an ensemble music experience playing the soprano part as a solo. The piano and baritone saxophone sound in the accompaniment. Accompaniment 1 plays at 60 dotted quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute, Accompaniment 2 at 63 dotted quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute Accompaniment 3 at 66 dotted quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute and Accompaniment 4 at 69 dotted quarter note (crotchet) beats to the minute. There is a two bar count in at the beginning of the accompaniments.