> Its amazing how long the saxophone took to catch on with orchestral
> composers when one considers that Berlioz was advocating its use in his
> Treatise on Instrumentation, back in the 1840's, not long after Adolphe Sax
> had invented the instrument, or rather, family of instruments.
Not so amazing if you consider the historical context. Had the saxophone been invented earlier (maybe 20 years or so), and judging by his appreciation of the instrument and his orchestration skills, Berlioz would surely have written it into some of his music but unfortunately most of his more important works had already been written. Actually he did write the very first piece for saxophone, which is a sextet: Chant sacrée for clarinet, bass-clarinet, bass sax, cornet, bugle & high trumpet (all instruments which were either invented or perfected by Adolphe Sax), Adolphe Sax himself performed on that occasion.
Several other composers did use the saxophone in their orchestral works during the 19C, but most of these are either forgotten personages or the particular works in question aren't among their most performed: e.g. George Kastner, Jacques Halévy, Louis-Adolphe Meyer, Jean-Baptiste Singlée, to name a few.
Some of the works which are still performed, include
Adolphe Sax was appointed as teacher of saxophone in the military band class at the Conservatoire but at some point he was also banned from the post. It depended on who was in power during a very volatile political time in France. As a consequence no important saxophone performer emerged in the latter part of the century which would also have influenced the promotion of the instrument. It wasn't until the 1930's when two major virtuoso's appeared on the scene, Marcel Mule in France (who will be celebrating his 100th birthday July, 2002 and who commissioned Glazunov for a Saxophone Quartet) and Sigurd Rascher who ended up in the USA and who recently passed away last February (he had heard the Glazunov Quartet and commissioned the Glazunov Concerto). Between these two performers came most of the more important commissions and dedications for the instrument during the first half of the 20C.
As for the use of the saxophone in the orchestral palette during the first half of the century, here are some of the more notable examples are:
Of course since the 1950s, in part I would think because of the emergence of new composers who have started with a background in popular (rock), jazz or other musics, the use of the saxophone in the orchestra has steadily increased. The elevation of performance standards among sax players is probably also an important factor. We are now at the 3rd or 4th generation of students of the Marcel Mule and Sigurd Rascher strains. There has also been a healthy input from sax players who have come from the jazz field which has also helped increase the technical virtues pf the instrument.
Among the latter century composers who have used the sax in the orchestra let me mention: John Adams, Hugo Alfven, Gilbert Amy, Juriaan Anderson, Denis ApIvo, Tadeusz Baird, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Michael Colgrass, Marius Constant, Luigi Dallapiccola, David Del Tredeci, Edison Denisov, Lucas Foss, John Harbison, Hans Werner Henze, Tristan Keuris, Giacinto Scelsi, Boguslav Schaffer, Alfred Schnittke, Toru Takemitsu, Michael Tippett, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Bernd Aloys Zimmermann.
There are of course many other. By my count, there are well over 2000 pieces for orchestra which include some saxophone not counting saxophone concertos.
With the major role the saxophone has taken up in jazz and popular music, it is really a 20C instrument. That is part of the conundrum which the instrument has to deal with in finding its place in the symphony orchestra, it is mostly part of the late 20C repertoire which has its own trouble finding room in conservative programming on the part of symphony directors. As long as modern composers don't get performed, the chances of hearing a little more of the saxophone in the orchestra will remain slight.
But, as you can see in the previous lists, if you pay attention, you will hear this wonderful instrument from time to time.
There are several other concertos around (well over 900) written by composers such as:
Jean Absil, Samuel Adler, David Amram, Juriaan Andriessen, Henk Badings, Richard Rodney Bennett, Warren Benson, Luciano Berio, Ronald Binge, William Bolcom, Walter Boudreau, Roger Boutry, Henri Brant, Edward Hagerup Bull, John Cage, André Caplet, Marius Constant, David Cope, Henry Cowell, Paul Creston, Claude Debussy, Elliot Del Borgo, David Del Tredeci, Pierre-Max Dubois, Jindrich Feld, Harry Freedman, Paul Gilson, Werner Wolf Glaser, Philip Glass, Morton Gould, Walter Hartley, Pierre Hasquenoph, Hans Werner Henze, Karel Husa, Jacques Ibert, Vincent d'Indy, Betsy Jolas, Otto Ketting, Tristan Keuris, Erland von Koch, Charles Koechlin, William Latham, Robert Lemay, John Anthony Lennon, Gyorgy Ligeti, Frank Martin, Donald Martino, Paul Maurice, Chiel Meijering, Darius Milhaud, Robert Muczynsky, Michael Nyman, David Ott, Marcel Poot, Henri Pousseur, Etienne Rolin, Ned Rorem, Charles Ruggiero, Gunther Schuller, Henri Tomasi, Michael Torke, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Mark Watters, Mike Westbrook, Alec Wilder, Carl Anton Wirth, Charles Wuorinen, Takashi Yoshimatsu