Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Australian Music for Saxophone
 We Bop!
 Saxophone Sonata
 Saxophone Sonata
Whispers of Fauvel
 Double Dreaming
Matters Arising

Margery Smith (saxophones)
Daniel Herscovich (piano)
Roger Frampton (piano)
rec 1996-98, Sydney
TALL POPPIES TP132 [70.56]


Typically an album such as this will attract reviews uneasy about the bridging of jazz and classical. I am not sure why we set up such barriers to the appreciation, pleasure and growth that comes from music whatever its perceived origins. It is typically Australian that the stylistic 'crashes' implicit in marrying together these pieces is not regarded as a problem - nor is it.

Brophy's piece is chaotically Tippettian: a jazzy jangle, jiving, hiccupping with bells. Marcellino's Fauvel piece is ballistic, modern, explosive and hammering. It howls and shrieks taking in memories of the Soukh along the way and emulating, in its melodic approach, the component struggles of a severed worm. Frampton's Dreaming has more continuity of line but by contrast is touched with greater dissonance. It is a morose little effort. The Sarcich grumbles and growls like a Leviathan or indulges in Blitzkrieg (10.08). He also finds room for an irresistible lyrical inspiration and his dangerous 'take' on this is held up to a Middle-Eastern filter.

The Sutherland sonata is Baxian (Bax was her teacher for a short time), aggressive, jazzy. There is also the same sense you find in the clarinet sonatas of William Alwyn and Arnold Bax but without the melodic drive of the Bax. The work suggests waters deeply stirred (6.30) and the sax pipes querulously among craggy piano statements. The piano writing recalls the ruggedness as well as the delicacy of Bax's masterwork Winter Legends. Nobility and tragedy haunt these pages. The Dulcie Holland piece is roundly contoured dappled with ochre and cinnamon tones and certainly more songfully-inclined than the Sutherland.

Margery Smith and the other artists serve the music well as far as I can make out from music all of which was quite new to me. The recording is quite close but none the worse for that.

Rob Barnett

Available in the UK from Seaford Music.
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PO Box 373
Glebe NSW 2037

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