Jean-Baptiste Singlée: Fantasies, Concerts et Solo

Jean-Baptiste Singlée: Fantasies, Concerts et Solo

by Sassofoni Accademi Quartet

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Overview

Jean-Baptiste Singlée: Fantasies, Concerts et Solo

It hardly seems possible, but Italy's Quartetto di Sassofoni Accademia claims to have uncovered "an extensive submerged heritage of music for the saxophone, almost always of delightful construction and at times of such immediate beauty as to justify doubts about the so-called 'selection of time' that is supposed to rid repertoires of poor-quality works." The subject here is Belgian composer Jean Baptiste Singelée, who died in Ostende in 1875 and was a friend of Adolphe Sax himself. Really the existence of a large saxophone repertoire from the nineteenth century is not too surprising; saxophones were widely remarked upon and were everywhere, and there was no reason not to write solo music for the instrument. But "delightful construction" is a misleading description for these little showpieces, most of them three or four minutes long and many for more than one saxophone, with piano. The construction is never in any way subtle and is often downright dull -- many of the pieces start blandly with a piano solo and then introduce the saxophone or saxophones in an utterly predictable way. No, "selection of time" has nothing to do with why these works were lost and have now been found. What's happening, instead, is that the saxophone's importance for the world that was to come is being realized. Sax's creation was a new musical machine of unparalleled efficiency, a veritable fountain of virtuosity that let even modestly talented players sound like a million bucks. Singelée's works are not masterpieces in the conventional sense, but they show off musical conceptions that were wholly new at the time -- a preoccupation with surfaces, a new physicality of the ordinary. They tickle the ear with sounds that, if you put yourself in the shoes of a listener of the middle nineteenth century, were unusual indeed, and they unfold in such a way as to maximize the pleasure principle. The majority of the pieces are not for the soprano saxophone, the instrument usually heard in the classical sax repertoire; the listener interested in sampling this album should try the baritone saxophone pieces, tracks 11 and 17, for a glimpse of the fun contained within. Essential listening, not only for saxophonists but also for anyone interested in the culture of the nineteenth century.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/24/2007
Label: Dynamic Italy
UPC: 8007144605414
catalogNumber: 541

Tracks

  1. Fantaisie for tenor saxophone & piano, Op. 50
  2. Duo Concertant, Op. 55
  3. Concerto, for tenor saxophone & piano, Op. 57
  4. Fantaisie for baritone saxophone & piano, Op. 60
  5. Adagio et Rondo, Op. 63
  6. Souvenir de la Savoie, fantaisie for soprano saxophone & piano, Op. 73
  7. Fantaisie Brillante for tenor saxophone & piano, Op. 75
  8. Concertino for alto saxophone & piano, Op. 78
  9. Solo de Concert No. 3 for baritone saxophone & piano, Op. 83
  10. Solo de Concert No. 4 for tenor saxophone & piano, Op. 84
  11. Fantaisie Brillante for alto saxophone & piano, Op. 86
  12. Fantaisie, for soprano saxophone & piano, Op. 89
  13. Solo de Concert No. 5 for alto saxophone & piano, Op. 91
  14. Solo de Concert No. 6 for tenor saxophone & piano, Op. 92
  15. Solo de Concert No. 7 for baritone saxophone & piano, Op. 93
  16. Fantaisie for soprano saxophone & piano, Op. 102

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