In Oscar Wilde’s 1888 short story “The Nightingale and the Rose” a nightingale seeks the rose a young man needs to win his sweetheart’s favor. The bush, damaged by cold weather, tells her the only way: “you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.” In Stahl’s Song of the Rose, the solo instrument is the nightingale and the piano the rosebush. The three iterations of the melody represent the three verses Wilde describes: sweet new love, the awakening of passion, and finally, love in death. By the third verse, just as in the text, the piano/rosebush has taken over the melody, although the soloist/nightingale concludes with “one last burst of music,” as Wilde writes, sacrificing her life for art, beauty, and love—all themes highly valued by Wilde himself.
Recording with trombone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjlGu92ns1s
PDF with saxophone/piano score and alto sax solo part