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June Emerson: Prélude et Ballade
A few words from Marilyn Strevens
Very little is known about Guillaume Balay. However his rich harmony and romantic lyricism would almost certainly have been influenced by Vincent d’Indy with whom he studied composition. In 1894 he was appointed Deputy Bandmaster of the first Regiment and the same year, after eight months study he won the first prize for Cornet at the Conservatoire and in 1898 he became Principal Conductor. In 1904 he transferred to the 72nd Regiment. Balay enriched the band’s repertoire with his own compositions and transcriptions.
Prélude et Ballade
This piece was composed for the Cornet and dedicated to Alexandre Petit, a cornet teacher
at the Paris conservatoire, also a soloist with the Garde Républicaine. The Prélude opens
with a statement by the piano which is developed and embellished in the solo. The are
some lovely parts where the there is a conversation between the instruments leading to a
solo demonstrating the versatility of the saxophone.
The Ballade is a march. After a brisk start the melody becomes more lyrical and intertwines with the accompaniment. An unexpected slower passage appears towards the end of the piece, with one of the themes from the prélude, before finishing with a flourish.
Marilyn Strevens, 2020
Alto saxophone or Soprano saxophone
Standard: Moderate to Advanced
Length: 4 minutes