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On Track - Commissions Vol. 2
     

On Track - Commissions Vol. 2

by New Century Saxophone Quartet
 
The New Century Saxophone Quartet has done a lot to shake up the stereotypes associated the instrument; the group has recorded a complete "Art of the Fugue," for instance, and has commissioned numerous leading composers to broaden the repertoire for saxophone quartets. In this, their second album of commissioned works,

Overview

The New Century Saxophone Quartet has done a lot to shake up the stereotypes associated the instrument; the group has recorded a complete "Art of the Fugue," for instance, and has commissioned numerous leading composers to broaden the repertoire for saxophone quartets. In this, their second album of commissioned works, they demonstrate the catholicity of their taste. "Heartbreakers," by Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis, which adds electronics, piano, bass, and drums to the ensemble, uses samples from TV talk shows of the '90s. It's a hugely engaging piece, but it's also emotionally complex , because ter Veldhuis' cross-cutting of the samples over a funky beat is so funny, while the content of the texts (suicide, infidelity, abuse, etc.) is genuinely sad. The title of Barbara Kolb's "Franciscan Chant" accurately reflects the music's character, serene and chaste. The three movements of David Lang's "Revolutionary Etudes" (named for Chopin's "Revolutionary Etude") have intriguing titles that do in fact describe the mood of each etude: "lyrical and hard," "with unstoppable force," and "with kindness." It's a substantial and subtle work that rewards close listening. Ben Johnston's "O Waly Waly Variations" is a companion piece to his "String Quartet No. 4," which is a set of variations on "Amazing Grace." "O Waly Waly," which is better known as "The River is Wide," receives the same probing and deeply moving treatment as "Amazing Grace"; this profound work seems destined to become central to the repertoire for saxophone quartets. The performances by New Century Saxophone Quartet are fabulously entertaining and virtuosic. The group's mastery of the diversity of the pieces collected here is testimony to its expressive, technical, and stylistic range. The sound is clear and present, with a good amount of resonance. Listeners' alert: be sure to listen all the way to the end of track 8.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2008
Label:
Alanna Records
UPC:
0742545600627
catalogNumber:
6006
Rank:
216507

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Heartbreakers, for saxophone quartet
  2. Franciscan Chant, for saxophone quartet
  3. Revolutionary Etudes, for saxophone quartet
  4. Prodigal Child, for saxophone quartet
  5. O Waly Waly Variations, for saxophone quartet

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