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ORIGINAL SAXOPHONE OCTETS
The Ashes Depression - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

This is not a meteorological depression, rather a cricketing calamity. After several years of English superiority, the Aussies have just trounced us in every form of the game. All those late nights listening to Test Match Special - no wonder I was depressed.... (we have won since!)

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PDF icon Easy 3m 27s
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Boris Goes to Dublin - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

"Boris" was originally written as a showpiece for Alto Saxophone and Wind Band (or piano), but following a request from the Equinox Saxophone Octet I have arranged it for that combination (SSAATTBB) and I'm glad they asked as it is works very well for 8. The solo part passes around the group and provides a fair challenge for most players. An optional Bass Saxophone part is included as an alternative to the 2nd Baritone, and may be used in addition to the two baritone parts. Two players may also double-up on wood block and cymbal (or Tam-Tam if you have that luxury). The MP3 file is courtesy of Kathleen Maxwell and www.saxtravaganza.com who performed it with a contra-bass saxophone - it's a great sound!

"Boris" is also available for: Solo Alto and Wind Band, Alto and Orchestra, and Alto and Piano

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PDF icon Hard 5m 32s
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DahDup! Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

Originally written for Saxophone Choir, this reduced version should still prove satisfying, but to feel the full effect, get yourself a choir! An onomatopoeic title for this interesting (I think) piece which blends intricate and gutsy rhythmic patterns with some more minimalist sections. I know that all sounds very "Psued's corner" but you'll understand when you listen to the piece. I have enjoyed writing in a minimalist style for clarinet ensemble but until now I hadn't found the right context to introduce it into a saxophone piece. I would have liked to add a little more choreography but I think the ensemble too large, so I have just suggested a some movement in the Bass-line instruments - feel free to try out your ideas to develop further.

"DahDup!" is also available for Saxophone Choir

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PDF icon Moderately hard 5m 18s
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Damned Spiders Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A menacing Tarantella which drives at a fast tempo and, although not technically difficult, the shear speed provides plenty of challenge for the performers. Originally written for wind quintet under the title "Don't Cry...", the expansion into an octet works very well and fits neatly under the fingers.

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PDF icon Moderately hard 2m 47s
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Henry's Gallop - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

Hark back to the days of Henry V and the battle of Agincourt. Think knights, castles and horses, and you will get the idea. The Gallop is woven around "The Agincourt Song", a contemporary song of the times but the feel of the piece is much more contemporary than its 1415 roots.

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PDF icon Hard 3m 33s
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Look What the Day Brings - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A challenging piece, full of drive and momentum and great as an encore piece. The original version for quartet was in the horrendous key of (concert) Gb minor but I have taken pity and moved it down to a more comfortable F minor. Written for SSAATTBB with an optional additional Bass Saxophone Part.

It is also available for Saxophone Quartet

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PDF icon Hard 4m 05s
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Molly and the Shepherds Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

You may well guess from the title that this is a pastiche on Percy Grainger. I originally wrote it as a movement of a wind quintet (available elswhere on this site) and it is also available for Clarinet Choir. Scored for SSAATTBB, an optional Bass part is provided.

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PDF icon Moderate 2m 55s
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Oily Rag - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

Feeling brave? Very brave?? This spectacular "Oily" Rag twists and turns and slips and slides and is a real challenge for any group of players (no hiding away on the 2nd Tenor part!). Originally written for quartet, I have expanded and added to it to take advantage of the flexibility provided by the larger ensemble. Written for SSAATTBB with an optional additional Bass Saxophone Part.

The "Oily Rag" is also available for Saxophone Quartet and Saxophone Choir

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PDF icon Very Hard 4m 23s
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The Santa Express - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass
holly icon

Deep in the depths of the Kent countyside at Christmas time, the Steam Railways run "Santa Specials" as a Christmas treat for the young and old alike and this light-hearted composition gives a hint of both Christmas and the steam locomotives. This version is for Saxophone Octet (SSAATTBB with optional Bass). This popular piece is also available for Sextet, 2 Altos and Piano, Flute and Piano, Orchestra, Wind Band and as a Piano Duet

Also available for Saxophone Sextet, 2 Altos (or Flute) and Piano, Orchestra and Piano Duet

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PDF icon Moderate 3m 50s
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Twisty Turny Thing - Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A piece in swing style that twists and turns to keep your saxophonists amused. The parts are not technically difficult but the rhythm needs to be very secure. The Bass Saxophone part is optional. There are also versions of this piece for Clarinet Choir and Single Reed ensemble, and they are all compatible.

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PDF icon Moderate/Hard 3m 15s
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What! No Cigar? Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A touch of Havana in a Latin romp for saxophones. This is not as hard as you might think from first hearing. Yes, the rhythms need to be right but the notes lie under the fingers.

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PDF icon Moderately hard 4m 18s
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SAXOPHONE OCTET ARRANGEMENTS TOP
Academic Festival Overture - Brahms arr. Alun Cook New - May 2017
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A famous overture and a great piece to play with many challenges, this is a substantial work which requires careful balance and a fair amount of agility for some players. Scored for SSAATTBB with an optional Bass part.

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PDF icon Hard 10m 38s
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Brandenburg 5 - 1st Movement - J.S.Bach arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

An enjoyable challenge for the big ensemble (SSAATTBB with optional Bass part). I confess to be nervous about tackling the long keyboard section, but in the end this proved the most exciting and enjoyable section to write. The parts are all playable and the difficulties are divided fairly evenly throughout the parts. Enjoy!

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PDF icon Hard 11m 28s
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Capriol Suite - Peter Warlock arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones, (with optional parts listed below)
or Saxophone Choir - Soprillo, Sopranino, 3 Sopranos, 3 Altos, 3 Tenors, 3 Baritones, Bass and Contra Bass

Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite was composed for String Orchestra and the movements are written as a set of dances using modal harmonies with some juicy clashes. This arrangement for saxophone choir has been carefully written so that it may be played by as few as 8 players - an octet of 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors and 2 Baritones, with all the critical other parts cued. Individual movements may be heard below with score samples, but the parts include all movements.

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Difficulty Order
PDF icon 1. Basse Danse - 1m 34s
Moderate
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PDF icon 2. Pavane - 2m 22s
Simple
PDF icon 3. Tordion - 1m 07s
Moderate
PDF icon 4. Bransles - 2m 24s
Exhilerating
PDF icon 5. Pieds-enl'air - 2m 26s
Requires counting!
PDF icon 6. Mattachins - 1m 11s
Speedy
Clair de Lune - Debussy arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

Clair de Lune requires beautiful ensemble playing exploring the soft dynamic rage of the saxophone family. As a piano piece, pianists play this with enormous flexibility and to achieve this (in a controlled way) within a large group of saxophonists will prove challenging unless, of course, you have a superbly musical ensemble!

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PDF icon Hard 4m 35s
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España - Chabrier arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

España is an exuberant extravaganza for octet (with optional Bass Saxophone), it will make an excellent concert opening. I have tried to capture the essence of the original and tempos should be flexible and largely at the discretion of the performers.

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PDF icon Hard 6m 39s
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Fantasia on "The Dargason" - Holst arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

Holst uses a similar arrangement to this in both his 2nd Suite for Military Band, and the St. Paul's Suite for Strings. Holst juxtaposes the 16th Century English Folk Tune "Dargason", with "Greensleeves", purportedly written by King Henry VIII (although this is now pooh-poohed by those spoilsport historians!) Arranged for SSAATTBB with optional Bass part.

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PDF icon Moderate 3m 33s
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For Unto Us a Child is Born - George Frederick Handel arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass Sax part
holly icon

A glorious piece of Handel, taken from "The Messiah" and a real favourite at Christmas. The parts are straight forward requiring some agility and neat tonguing. The Bass part is optional

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PDF icon Moderate/Hard 4m 14s
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In Dulci Jubilo - Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) - arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass Sax part
holly icon

Originating from the 14th century this classic european carol has survived in various interpretations, from J.S.Bach to Mike Oldfield. For me it is this version by Samuel Scheidt that is the most magical. His scoring was for two four-part choirs with two solo trumpeters. Here the solo trumpet parts are scored for the two soprano saxophones and for performance antiphonal placing would be ideal. The other parts are integrated throughout the score. The Bass saxophone is entirely optional.

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PDF icon Moderate 4m 00s
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Jupiter from "The Planets" - Holst arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

In general, I tend to write what I would like to play and I always enjoy a challenge. "Jupiter" is so exciting but could such a large-scale work possibly reduce down to a quartet and still be effective? Well it seems so, with it becoming one of my most popular arrangements - others enjoy a challenge too! It is not quite as difficult to play as one might expect and this large group version is a little less stressful for the individual player. The slow "I Vow to Thee my Country" section really allows the depth of sound of the big ensemble to resonate. An optional Bass Saxophone part is provided for those lucky enough to have access to one.

"Jupiter" is also available for Saxophone Quartet and Saxophone Choir, and further movements from the Planets ("Mercury" and "Uranus") are also available.)

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PDF icon Very Hard 8m 59s
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Mercury from "The Planets" - Holst arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

Mercury, the "Winged Messenger" flies at high speed (even implying Morse Code). This companion piece to my arrangement of Jupiter and Uranus from Holst's Planets Suite is not perhaps quite as hard as it sound at first hearing. Scored for SSAATTBB, an optional Bass part is provided.

The three "Planets" are also available for Saxophone Choir.

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PDF icon Hard 4m 18s
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Shchedryk - A New Year's Carol - Mykola Leontovych (Ukrainian Trad.) arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass Sax part
holly icon

In "the West" we know this as "The Carol of the Bells", but the original was written as a New Year's carol (or Shchedrivka) by Mykola Leontovych based on a Ukrainian folk song melody which tells the story of a Swallow which flies into the house and tells of the joys of spring to come. It is still regularly performed by choirs in its original form in the Ukraine and beyond with their magnificent choral sound.

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PDF icon Moderate 3m 30s
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Sheep May Safely Graze - J.S.Bach arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A beautiful peaceful aria from Bach's Cantata BWV 208. This sounds particularly luscious on an octet of saxophones. Purists may want a simple strict interpretation of the original, but I have gone for rich harmonies and would perform with plenty of rubato. Although not as wild as Grainger's wonderful "Blithe Bells", it is quite delicious to play.

"Sheep may safely Graze" is also available for Brass Quintet and 10 Piece Brass Ensemble

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PDF icon Moderate 5m 51s
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Uranus from "The Planets" - Holst arr. Alun Cook
Saxophone Octet - 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 2 Tenors, 2 Baritones with optional Bass

A companion piece for Jupiter and Mercury. Holst's brilliance in developing his four-note "idee fix" and slithering block chords present yet more challenges for the saxophonists in this arrangement. An optional Bass part is provided.

"Uranus" is also available for Saxophone Choir

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PDF icon Hard 6m 09s
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