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Toewijdingen opvoeren. Een contextuele en artistieke reflectie over de toewijding van ’s werelds eerste saxofoonconcerto.

Kurt Bertels

This article focuses on the first concerto for saxophone, written in 1902 by Belgian musician Paul Gilson and dedicated to the famous American amateur saxophonist Elise Hall. With both contextual and artistic arguments, Kurt Bertels wants to show that Hall did not order or perform the work herself, even though Gilson dedicated the concerto to her. In this way, Bertels sheds new light on an important document in saxophone history, as well as on the function of commissioned works.

Dit artikel focust op het eerste concerto voor saxofoon, geschreven in 1902 door de Belg Paul Gilson en opgedragen aan de beroemde Amerikaanse amateursaxofoniste Elise Hall. Met zowel contextuele als artistieke argumenten wil Kurt Bertels laten zien dat Hall, hoewel Gilson het concerto aan haar heeft opgedragen, het werk niet zelf heeft besteld of uitgevoerd. Op die manier werpt Bertels zowel een nieuw licht op een belangrijk document in de saxofoongeschiedenis als op de functie van opdrachtwerken.


In 1902, the Belgian composer Paul Gilson (1865–1942) composed two concertos for alto saxophone and symphony orchestra. Gilson was the very first to write a concerto for the saxophone after Adolphe Sax’s official presentation of the instrument in 1841.1 By introducing a concerto into the repertoire for saxophone, Gilson played an international pioneering role.2 After the nineteenth century, in which the evolution of saxophone practice mainly took place in the environment of wind bands and in chamber music (saxophone solo or saxophone and piano), Gilson contributed to professionalising the young instrument by staging the saxophone with an accompanying orchestra.3 Notwithstanding the concerto’s artistic and international importance as a new genre in the saxophone’s repertoire, the manuscript was lost and thus not performed throughout the twentieth century.4 The composer declared the concerto’s autograph to the Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs & Editeurs de Musique (SACEM) on 5 March 1921, twenty years after finishing the concerto, but the autograph and a handwritten copy of it did not surface until more than one hundred years after its composition date, respectively in 2017 and 2019.5 Although these authentic orchestral scores were lost for a long time, various autographs of Gilson’s piano reductions of the saxophone concerto were known and available in the music library of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.6

The handwritten piano reductions, the rediscovered autograph, and the handwritten copy mention a mysterious dedication to a certain Madame B. Hall de Boston. Who was this Madame Hall? In the history of the saxophone, the American amateur saxophonist Elizabeth Boyer Swett Coolidge, better known as Elise Boyer Hall (1853–1924), occupied a remarkable place. Gilson’s dedication to Hall has already sparked the interest of several scholars.7 A specific strand of research even claims that Hall also commissioned the work.8 Indeed, at first glance, Gilson’s dedicatory act intimates the music score to be one of Hall’s commissions. The present article aims to demonstrate that Gilson’s dedication to Hall does not imply that she actively commissioned the work. This article thus sheds new light on the possible relation between composer and dedicatee (the person for whom the composition is written), and on the function of Gilson’s dedication to Hall in particular. How can we interpret Hall’s name appearing as a dedicatee on the manuscript? And to what extent might Hall, as a saxophone player, have influenced Gilson’s artistic process of composition?

By concentrating on Gilson’s dedication to Hall, I do not only seek to contribute to our contextual understanding of the first saxophone concerto, but also to approach an example of dedication in music from both a historical and an artistic perspective. Dedication, an important practice in European music history, can take on several forms, from the composer’s act of dedicating a composition to a performer and the performer’s act of commissioning a work from a composer. Both instances of dedication do not necessarily coincide; it is perfectly conceivable that a composer dedicates a composition to person X which has been commissioned by person Y. With a particular focus on the possible artistic influence of the dedicatee as a performer, the present article attempts to go beyond merely (con)textual approaches towards an artistic understanding of dedication.9 My own performance of the score, moreover, enables me to tackle technical and instrumental issues and nourish historical and contextual information with insights derived from performance practice. In doing so, I depart from existing research which has already studied and defined the phenomenon of dedication.

My own performances based on the analysis of aforementioned historical sources provided me with certain insights I could not gain through historical research.

With regard to music history, scholarship on dedication restricts itself mainly to music before 1900, which discusses the functions of dedications in the oeuvre of canonized composers such as Mozart, Brahms, Liszt, and Haydn.10 In addition, these prior investigations have also exclusively highlighted the role and strategies of the composer, publishers, and the meaning of dedication in a commercial and consumer culture. One could interpret dedication in terms of cultural entrepreneurship, which Dimaggio considers as part and parcel of the transitioning economy of the late eighteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries.11 Simultaneously, this entrepreneurship gave rise to the idea of considering music as a commercial product in the networks of publishers and composers.12 The pattern of dedication during the nineteenth century, moreover, suggests a composer’s engagement with new trends in biography, celebrity, and sociability.13 However, dedication does not remain restricted to music, but functions as a broader cultural phenomenon. For instance, Genette’s theory of paratextuality in Seuils (1987) still offers a useful framework for approaching dedication in its textual form.14 While existing research investigates the concepts of dedication and patronage mostly from a cultural-historical viewpoint, this research concentrates on the decisive role of dedication in early-20th-century music and sheds light on the interaction between composers and the performers to whom music was dedicated. Whereas dedication and patronage have been studied mostly from a cultural-historical viewpoint, my research adds a vital artistic perspective.

In order to fully understand the relation between composer and dedicatee, I proceed in two complementary ways. Firstly, based on historical research, this article argues that Gilson was not approached by Hall nor was he familiar with Hall’s amateur practice. Secondly, I will argue by means of an artistic reflection – which arises from my own performance practice of the concerto – that Gilson did not adapt the level of difficulty of his composition to Hall’s practice.

The relation between Gilson and Hall: a contextual reflection

The French-born Elise Hall, who learned to play the saxophone on the advice of her doctor to counteract her rising deafness, was mainly active in the US and France.15 She lived in Boston, which became a prominent cultural hub in the US thanks to ambitious musical entrepreneurs.16 When Hall’s husband, Dr. Hall, died in 1897, his widow inherited a fortune, which subsequently enabled her to lead a financially independent life and to pursue her passion for the arts and the saxophone to the full. In Boston, together with Georges Longy (1868–1930), she founded the Boston Orchestral Club in 1899, an exclusive society that offered playing opportunities to music lovers.17 According to the American journals The Musical Courier and The Musical Observer, Hall’s Orchestral Club mainly counted female musicians.18

Willing to become an active saxophonist herself, Hall decided to invite composers to write new music. She became the dedicatee of 22 compositions between 1902 and 1920. Hall commissioned from composers such as Claude Debussy, Vincent d’Indy, and Charles-Martin Loeffler.19 By ordering and performing new saxophone compositions, Hall took up an extraordinary position in the international field of the saxophone. Her substantial contribution to the saxophone repertoire established her reputation as the Saxophone Lady.20 Her importance for the saxophone illustrates the Grove Music Online’s statement that ‘women have played central roles in commissioning.’21 As a generous patron, she expanded the early saxophone repertoire with new works in a variety of settings, ranging from chamber music to concertante works for saxophone and orchestra.

Paul Gilson, source: private collection of the author

Although existing research and Gilson’s manuscript suggest that Hall commissioned the concerto, the composer’s dedication to Hall does not necessarily mean that he also wrote his concerto on her request. Indeed, Street already pointed out that ‘little is known about the commission of this work other than its dedication’.22

Several contextual arguments question whether the concerto was commissioned by Hall. To begin with, Gilson would have been the only Belgian composer to write for Hall. Of the fifteen composers from whom she certainly commissioned, fourteen were of French descent, and one composer had the American nationality. The Orchestral Club in Boston was Francophile by nature as Hall and several members were French.23 It thus seems that Hall wanted to connect with the most prominent French composers at that time to promote the best contemporary European music in America (or to display her and the Boston Club’s own affinity with all things modern in France?). A second argument is that although Hall not only performed her commissions in the US, but also regularly in France, the available historical sources mentioned in the introduction do not reveal whether Gilson attended one of her performances nor whether they met each other.24 This contrasts with the aforementioned composers who were familiar with Hall’s saxophone practice as they attended Hall’s concerts.25 A third and even stronger argument is that Gilson’s score did not end up in Hall’s archive, so the composer might not have handed over his saxophone concerto to her. Nowadays, the Hall archive resides in the Special Collections of the New England Conservatory in Boston, more specifically in the Elise Hall Collection of Saxophone Music by 20th-Century Composers.26 Thus, as opposed to the compositions that Hall definitely commissioned, Gilson’s saxophone concerto is not preserved in any version in this collection: neither in manuscript, nor in a printed edition.27

A fourth and last argument is that Hall’s concert programmes do not indicate any performance of Gilson’s Concert by the Saxophone Lady in collaboration with her own Orchestral Club in Boston or other orchestras.28 As neither Hall nor any other saxophonist performed the concerto, Gilson presumably left the composition aside. The concerto then soon fell into oblivion.

Artistic reflection

In addition to the aforementioned contextual arguments there are various insights from an artistic point of view that allow me to argue that Gilson did not bear Hall’s amateur performance practice in mind during his creation process. These insights are derived from my own historically informed performance of the score, which I consider as a substantial part of my research methodology. Therefore, to approach the phenomenon of dedication from an artistic perspective, I have developed my own methodological framework. In order to reach my goal, the primary corpus consists of historical (artistic) sources that yield insight into the performance style of Hall: music periodicals, instrumental methods, and a historical instrument.

Firstly, a well-defined set of historical music periodicals associated with my case study provide me with reviews of Hall’s concerts. Secondly, I study saxophone methods that might have been used by Hall and the saxophone methods that were common in general. These books contain practical and technical instructions for the instrumentalists of that time and form valuable documents of the technical properties of the instrument for which they were written. Thus, technical instructions of instrumental methods especially help me on how to produce sound, to form my embouchure and how to deal with fingerings. Finally, these diverse sources constitute the foundation for my historically informed performance (HIP), that is performing music with profound knowledge of the technology and performance convention that were present when a piece of music was composed. By using a period instrument, a Buffet-Crampon (Evette & Schaeffer, 1898), which has been used by the dedicatee herself, my performance allows me to draw much more attention to the role of the dedicatee as a performer.29 My instrument confronts me with the technical possibilities and difficulties Hall was confronted with too. Unavoidably, the use of this instrument has an impact on both my performance technique and musical interpretation. My performances are not merely the result of the contextualization, but they also enable me to revise and refine the contextual analysis of the score.30 Moreover, my own performances based on the analysis of aforementioned historical sources provided me with certain insights I could not gain through historical research. In the next paragraph I will address this particular reflection.

It goes without saying that none of these sources are without flaws. Instrumental methods, for instance, cannot unambiguously be interpreted as trustworthy, exhaustive manuals, but rather form only a part of the many tools and sources in historical (as well as contemporary) music education. Analogously, concert reviews in music periodicals do not reflect historical reality completely and objectively, but express personal opinions and a particular aesthetic taste. And, even though we can be certain that Hall played a Buffet-Crampon saxophone, a contemporary artistic researcher will never be able to physically (and artistically) perform exactly as Hall did. Fully aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of each of these historical testimonies, I adopt an integrated approach in which each individual source is informative to a certain degree.

To begin with, ‘the style in which it [the concerto] is written does not in any way resemble the other literature commissioned by her.’31 Indeed, composers such as Loeffler, d’Indy, and Debussy – who were commissioned by Hall in the same period Gilson created his concerto – clearly used the saxophone merely as an added colour and only required limited technical skills. Even though such use of the saxophone was quite typical of that period, it also supports the idea that Hall – an amateur – wanted to perform the commissioned works with the Boston Orchestral Club herself. This idea of the saxophone’s limited use was described as a reaction to several performances by Hall or in descriptions of the compositions written for her. In La Revue Musicale, for instance, one can read the following review of d’Indy’s Choral Varié:

Un chant simple et triste, de la tristesse des âges anciens (...) impossible de retrouver (dans toute la pièce) la moindre trace de virtuosité; partout l’instrument solo garde son caractère expressif, et n’intervient que pour donner à l’ensemble sa teinte particulière de douceur et de mélancolie.32

Another striking example of this specific use of the saxophone appeared in the Boston Daily Evening Transcript after a performance in 1901 of Loeffler’s Divertissement Espagnol, which indicates that the composer did not employ the saxophone as a soloistic instrument:

(…) To be sure, there is, in this Divertissement an obligato part for alto saxophone; but it does assume the proportions of an actual concertante part. The instrument is treated as one of the woodwind group, and it is not brought into much more prominence than its companions. The Divertissement can stand as an orchestral work, not as a pseudo-concerto; in the finale, the saxophone does not even appear at all. (…)

But, in this Divertissement, Mr. Loeffler shows that he has endowed the orchestra with a really new voice, a new timbre, at once individual and profitable. One would hardly have thought that that chilly, lackluster tone could be made to blend so well with the other warmer voices of the woodwind and horns, but Mr. Loeffler has so exploited it as to show it to be of real value.33

In the same way an article in Schweizerische Musikzeitung und Sängerblatt commented on the first performance of Debussy’s Rapsodie in Switzerland stating that ‘the score was “specifically composed to showcase the solo instrument [timbre], instead of the instrument and its technique serving the work of art”.34

In contrast to other compositions written for Hall, Gilson’s idea to create a concerto was progressive. As suggested by its title Concerto nr. 1, the composer did not just present the saxophone as an added colour to the orchestra – which was very common in nineteenth-century opera and orchestral music – but gave the saxophone a very extensive solo role. Thus, as opposed to the majority of saxophone compositions of his time, Gilson allowed the instrument to dialogue with the orchestra on a high virtuoso level.

Furthermore, my own performance based on Gilson’s autograph with a historical Buffet-Crampon alto saxophone confirms the required high technical skills for the solo instrumentalist.35 From an artistic point of view, in comparison with the other compositions dedicated to Hall in mind, various technical and artistic examples in the score of the concerto make it rather unrealistic that Hall – as an amateur – could handle these advanced technical challenges on the saxophone. In the following paragraphs, I present a range of examples which illustrate the advanced technique required for Gilson’s concerto.

Firstly, Gilson demanded a technical mastery throughout the entire range of the saxophone. Although contemporary saxophones have a standard tessitura from b♭° to f♯3, early instruments have a (more limited) tessitura from b° to f3. Prior research on nineteenth-century saxophone practice, however, has indicated that composers at the time avoided writing extreme high and low registers as this required either a controlled embouchure technique, or general finger technique, or a combination of both.36 Yet with the exception of the lowest note Gilson used the complete range, which fundamentally differs from most of the compositions dedicated to Hall. The aforementioned composers, who were familiar with Hall’s saxophone practice, clearly took this into account and mainly employed the middle register of the saxophone.

Secondly, instrumental methods from the nineteenth and early twentieth century show us that saxophonists used a double lip embouchure, which is akin to the embouchure used by oboists or bassoonists.37 My own experiments with a double lip embouchure have yielded specific insights. The use of this specific embouchure technique without the support of the upper teeth – which is hardly used today by saxophonists – hinders controlling the sound production and the endurance in general, which makes it very difficult to control the sound of the entire saxophone range. Furthermore, this double lip embouchure must have hampered an amateur player like Hall to project the sound over the orchestra. As already mentioned, in Gilson’s concerto, the real protagonist of the piece is the saxophonist. Aside from sporadic orchestral intersections and in contrast with the saxophone’s very limited role in compositions by Loeffler, Debussy, and d’Indy, a performance of Gilson’s composition asks the soloist to be in very good shape to be able to take on three movements and to have full control over the instrument.

Thirdly, in his saxophone concerto, Gilson suggests the use of harmonics. This technique is very common today but was unusual at the time. Harmonics or overtones are pitches following the f♯3, today’s highest note on the saxophone. Again, early saxophone methods from the nineteenth and early twentieth century do not provide any information on playing harmonics on the saxophone. With regard to the world’s first concerto, the composer demands twice the use of the g3 in the third movement to serve the melodical line. By using this g3, Gilson went one step further in comparison to the other literature written for Hall, requiring a virtuosic and innovative saxophone sound as much as possible, which made his composing for saxophone progressive for his time.38 The fact that the composer also provided an alternative passage for this harmonic g3 might intimate that he was conscious of the harmonics being rarely performed or performed with considerable difficulty.

Fourthly, compared with the other works in the Hall repertoire, Gilson was the only composer to make use of a solo cadenza. Such a cadenza, which is an important part of a concerto, appears twice in Gilson’s first concerto, in both the first and the third movement. Conceived as an organic part of both movements Gilson implied these virtuosic passages as the climax of the first and third movement. Both are of short duration, written out – not improvised – and form the bridge to the concluding section. Even though these virtuoso solo passages are relatively short, they allow the soloist to present the saxophone as the real protagonist of the concerto. In doing so, the composer not only presented the sound of the saxophone in combination with the full orchestra, but also as an independent sound.

Paul Gilson, Concerto no. 1, 1st movement, incipit, Paul Gilson’s autograph (1902)

In each cadenza, the composer activates the entire saxophone register and prescribes a fast rhythm, thus making use of the full virtuoso capacities of the saxophone as a soloistic instrument. In both cadenzas it is also noticeable that Gilson requires similar technical challenges containing runs as well as trills. He asks the saxophonist to play different runs between the lowest and the highest register in a very fast tempo (prestissimo). In the cadenza of the first movement, moreover, the composer asks the soloist to play a chromatic line from e3 to c1 in a very high tempo, with the player articulating each note. This might indicate that Gilson asks the saxophonist to double-tongue a passage. At that time the use of that specific (advanced) technique was not common among amateurs.39

Finally, a remarkable difference between the historical and contemporary saxophone practice is the left-hand use of the octave keys. Whereas nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century saxophones have two keys to play one octave higher, modern instruments have only one key, which makes it very easy to play runs and to octavate simultaneously. This particular technical system requires an advanced playing technique, and in particular a well-developed (left) thumb technique. The use of the first octave key (1) is needed to play from d2 up to and including g♯2, the second octave (2) key from a2 up to and including f♯3.40 Throughout the whole concerto the composer clearly carried this technique to an extreme with various passages, which indisputable contrasts with saxophone scores of Gilson’s contemporaries. A clear example to illustrate this is a virtuoso passage of the first movement, which requires 54 thumb movements on a historical saxophone with two octave keys (in red). Under the modern system, by contrast, this identical passage would need 23 thumb changes (in black).

Concluding remarks

Dedications held an important place in Western European classical music and played an important role in the print culture which culminated in the nineteenth century.41 Prints of scores presented names of dedicatees in large and ornate script on the title page. With a focus on a specific yet important dedication in saxophone music of the early twentieth century, a rather unexplored period in scholarship on dedication in which the most canonized repertoire of my instrument originated, I have drawn attention to the importance of dedications in music after the nineteenth century and highlighted the role of the performer-dedicatee. While historical sources and arguments suggest that Hall did not commission the work and even never met Gilson, my artistic reflection indicates that composer Gilson did not tailor the technical content of his virtuoso saxophone music on the quality of Hall’s saxophone practice. Yet if Hall did not commission Gilson, the question remains why Gilson dedicated his score to Hall. There might be several reasons. Firstly, being aware of Hall’s cultural activities as a patron and performing amateur saxophonist, the composer was perhaps inspired by the woman who was known as the Saxophone Lady and even tempted to compose a work for saxophone. Secondly, Hall’s status could also have inspired the composer to reason strategically. By dedicating the score to an international figure like Hall, Gilson did not only express his admiration but also developed his international network. Gilson seized the opportunity to have his work well received and thus steer the future success of his composition. Given Hall’s international position as a saxophonist and entrepreneur, the composer’s plan, linking his own name with that of a reputable international performer, could be an incentive for future performances of his current and future work. Thus, with Hall’s name on the manuscript, Gilson could have hoped that the dedicatee would be interested in his new composition for saxophone and that she would pick up, promote, and even perform his saxophone concerto. In that way, dedications might evoke (sometimes misleadingly) a personal connection between composer and dedicatee – for contemporaries as well as future readers. Such name-dropping again demonstrates the significance of dedication, from a historical, sociological, and artistic perspective.


Kurt Bertels

is a classical saxophonist and doctor in the arts. As a soloist and member of chamber music ensembles, he performs at home and abroad; and participates in national and international CD, radio and television recordings. He specializes in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century saxophone practice. In 2020, he presented his historically inspired saxophone practice by releasing two CDs: The Saxophone in 19th-Century Brussels and Works for Saxophone and Orchestra by Paul Gilson (Etcetera Records). He also published the monograph Een ongehoord geluid, on the saxophone in nineteenth-century Brussels. Bertels is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at LUCA School of Arts (KU Leuven Association) and as a guest researcher at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Leerstoel Mecenaatstudies/Utrecht University).



  1. Gilson was not the first to compose for solo saxophone and orchestra. In 1879 already, the American composer Caryl Florio (1843–1920) wrote his Introduction, Theme and Variation for saxophonist Edward Lefebre (1835–1911), which might be the first composition for solo saxophone and chamber orchestra in the saxophone’s history. In 1900, Charles Martin Loeffler (1861–1935) composed his Divertissement Espagnol for Elise Hall, staging a saxophone solo and orchestra.
  2. Bertels, Kurt. Een ongehoord geluid: De saxofoonklas van het Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel tussen 1867 en 1904. ASP Editions, 2020, pp. 74-81.
  3. After the famous contest between the Saxons and Carafons on the Paris Champ de Mars on 22 April 1845, Sax’s instruments were officially adopted in the French military bands. Consequently, the saxophone was introduced into the military music education of the Gymnase musical militaire (Haine, Malou. Adolphe Sax: 1814-1894. Sa vie, son oeuvre et ses instruments de musique. Éditions de l’Université de Bruxelles, 1980, p. 106). This French context influenced the introduction of the saxophone in the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides and the foundation of the world’s first conservatory class for saxophone at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Both the French and Belgian saxophone classes played an important role in the emergence of the first saxophone chamber repertoire. For research on the repertoire of these classes, see Bronkin, Bruce Edward. The Music for Saxophone and Piano Published by Adolphe Sax. University of Maryland, 1987; Bertels, pp. 47-74.
  4. Gilson’s first saxophone concerto was performed and recorded for the very first time in its original form in 2020. For the recording, see Bertels, Kurt, Koenig, Jan-Latham, Flanders Symphony Orchestra. Works for Saxophone and Orchestra by Paul Gilson (1865–1942). Etcetera Records, 2020; “Paul Gilson saxophone.” Spotify, open.spotify.com. Accessed 27 July 2022.
  5. For more information on the rediscovery, see Bertels, Kurt. “Gevonden: ’s werelds eerste saxofoonconcerto.” De Moderne Tijd. De Lage Landen, 1780-1940, 2020, pp. 351-359. Nowadays, Gilson’s autograph is preserved in the music library of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.
  6. These piano reductions are catalogued as B-Bc FPG 4.065 in the music library of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.
  7. The following saxophone studies do mention Hall as the dedicatee of Gilson’s saxophone concerto: Londeix, Jean-Marie. 125 ans de musique pour saxophone. Alphonse Leduc, 1971, p. 109; Mollica, Antonino. “Le saxophone exotique aux XIXe et XXe siècle.” Une histoire du saxophone par les méthodes parues en France 1846–1942, ed. Pascal Terrien, Editions Delatour France, 2014, pp. 149-173. There is a range of other landmark studies, however, that do not mention Hall as Gilson’s dedicatee: Gee, Harry. Saxophone Soloists and Their Music, 1844–1985: An Annotated Bibliography. Indiana University Press, 1986, pp. 20-21; Cottrell, Stephen. The Saxophone. Yale University Press, 2013, pp. 243-246.
  8. Londeix, Jean-Marie and Bruce Ronkin. Comprehensive Guide to the Saxophone Repertoire 1844–2003/Répertoire universel de musique pour saxophone 1844–2003. Édition Roncorp Publications, 2003, VII; Mollica, pp.168-169; Street, William. Elise Boyer Hall: America’s First Female Concert Saxophonist. Northwestern University, 1983, p. 42.
  9. For (con)textual approaches to dedicating music see Green, Emily H. Dedicating Music 1785–1850. University of Rochester Press, 2019; Pereira, Artur. Beethoven’s Dedications: Stories Behind the Tributes. Routledge, 2021.
  10. Studies have focused on composers such as Haydn (Beghin, Tom. The Virtual Haydn. University of Chicago, 2015), Mozart (Bonds, Mark Evan. “Replacing Haydn: Mozart’s ‘Pleyel Quartets’.” Music and Letters, vol. 88, 2007, pp. 201-225; Webster, James. “One More Time: Mozart’s Dedication to Haydn.” Widmungen bei Haydn und Beethoven, ed. Bernhard R. Appel and Armin Raab, Beethovenhaus Verlag, 2015, pp. 121-138), Brahms (Hammes, Andrea. Brahms gewidmet: ein Beitrag zu Systematik und Funktion der Widmung in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. V&R Unipress, 2015), Liszt (Walker, Alan. Reflections on Liszt. Cornell University Press, 2005), and Rossini (Gallo, Denise. “Selling ‘Celebrity’: The Role of the Dedication in Marketing Piano Arrangements of Rossini’s Military Marches.” The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World, 1800-1930, ed. Christina Bashford and Roberta Montemorra Marvin, Boydell Press, 2016, pp. 8-26).
  11. Dimaggio, Paul. “Cultural Entrepreneurship in Nineteenth-Century Boston: The Creation of an Organizational Base for High Culture in America.” Media, Culture and Society, vol. 4, 1982, pp. 33-50.
  12. Bashford, Christina and Roberta Montemorra Marvin. The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World, 1800-1930. The Boydell Press, 2016.
  13. Green, p. 3.
  14. For an example on approaches to dedications in the Early Modern period as a multidisciplinary phenomenon, including music and Neo-Latin literature, see Bossuyt, Ignace and Nele Gabriels, eds. “Cui dono lepidum novum libellum?” Dedicating Latin Works and Motets in the Sixteenth Century, Leuven University Press, 2008.
  15. For a biographical study on Elise Hall, see Street 1983.
  16. Dimaggio, 1982; Faucett, Bill. Music in Boston: Composers, Events, and Ideas, 1852–1918. Lexington Books, 2016.
  17. ‘The exclusivity of the club, maintained from its outset, was seen in the rigorous and thorough examination taken by all those applying for membership. Social background and musical training were important assets not to be overlooked. Only the players of a high level of proficiency and with social standing were admitted by the club’s examining board’ (Street, pp. 31-32).
  18. The Musical Courier, no. 3, 17 January 1900, pp. 15-16; The Musical Observer, no. 8, 1 August 1911, p. 33.
  19. The repertoire in Hall’s collection has not been studied yet from an artistic perspective. We can only rely on a cultural-historical study of Claude Debussy’s Rapsodie pour orchestra et saxophone principal (1903), dedicated to Hall, see Noyes, James. “Debussy’s Rapsodie pour orchestra et saxophone Revisited.” The Music Quarterly, vol. 90, no. 3/4, 2007, pp. 416-445.
  20. In his letter to his wife Lilly, Debussy gave his patron Hall the epithet of Saxophone Lady (“Femme Saxophone”), see Noyes 2007.
  21. “Commission.” Oxford Music Online, www.oxfordmusiconline.com. Accessed 13 April 2022.
  22. Street, p. 42.
  23. Street, pp. 27-62.
  24. Street.
  25. Street, p. 61.
  26. “Special Collections.” New England Conservatory, www.necmusic.edu. Accessed 12 April 2022.
  27. This idea is based on the inventory of Hall’s collection, which can be consulted online (see endnote 27).
  28. Street, pp. 115-124.
  29. Street, p. 85.
  30. See endnote 4.
  31. Street, p. 43.
  32. La Revue Musicale, no. 18, 15 December 1903.
  33. Boston Daily Evening Transcript, 30 January 1901, p. 18.
  34. Noyes, p. 417.
  35. The recording of this performance has been published (see endnote 4 for the CD reference). This recording project has been announced as the world premiere of the execution of the autograph (“Kurt Bertels over het allereerste saxofoonconcerto uit de geschiedenis (Paul Gilson)” YouTube, www.youtube.com. Accessed 12 April 2022.
  36. Bertels, pp. 62-68.
  37. Bertels, pp. 106-113.
  38. Bertels, pp. 79-82.
  39. This information is based on the saxophone methods by Jean-François Barthélémy Cokken (1846), Louis Mayeur (1868, 1878), Adolphe Mayeur (1896), François Combelle (1911), and Nazaire Beeckman (1874).
  40. Bertels, pp. 124-127.
  41. Green, pp. 1-38.