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Formal Analysis

Practice and Performance Considerations


Petite Suite, Walter Hartley

by Brian L. Trittin


Composer Dates:
b. 1928
Publication Date:
1961, copyright 1962
Fema Music Pub.
Solo Alto Saxophone
"For Sandra"
Performance Time:
5' 30"
Grade Level:



Walter S. Hartley is an American composer, pianist and teacher. He received a B.M. in 1950, a M. M. in 1951 and a Ph.D. in 1953 from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He studied with Howard Hanson, Burrill Phillips and Bernard Rogers while at Eastman. He taught at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia, and at the State University of New York, Fredonia from 1969. He has numerous works for saxophone which are widely performed. These include: Duo (1964), Concerto (1966), and Poem (1967). Dr. Hartley also has composed works for saxophone ensembles: Intermezzo (1970), Suite for Saxophone Quartet (1972) and Quintet for Saxophones.

Composition Information

The Petite Suite has five movements in a F-S-F-S-F (Fast-Slow etc.) configuration, entitled: Intrada, Tango, Scherzo, Nocturne, and Capriccio. As the reader can see, the general structure of this composition is remotely related to that of the original suite of the Baroque period. There are five movements in the suite, but they are not the dance movements a Baroque composer would use, namely: allemande, courante, sarabande, gigue or other dance forms of the time.

Each movement is rather short as one con see from the total duration of the composition (5' 30"). This is a benefit to younger players as it allows them to more easily understand the form of a movement of an unfamiliar contemporary composition. The range for the entire Petite Suite is B to F-sharp3; however, there are two short altissimo passages (movements four and five), both marked ab libitum that the performer may perform. If the performer chooses to do so the range of the composition would then extend to C4 (altissimo).