Under the Sign of the Sun Jacques IBERT (1890-1962)
Concertino da camera (1934) [12:05] Henri TOMASI (1901-1972)
Concerto for alto saxophone (1949) [18:51] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Pavane pour une Infante défunte (1899) [6:08] Paule MAURICE (1910-1967)
Tableaux de Provence (Suite) (1948-55) [14:20] Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958)
Légende, Op.66 (1918) [11:26] Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974)
Scaramouche, Op.165c (Suite) (1930) [9:14]
Claude Delangle (saxophone)
Singapore Symphony Orchestra/Lan Shui
rec. August 2004, Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore. DDD BIS CD-1357 [73:49]
I have long adored the sound of the saxophone. I associate
the start of my infatuation with first hearing the Glazunov
concerto, the prominent sax part in the Rachmaninov Symphonic
Dances and later encountering John Harle in a TV broadcast
of Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances.
are now quite a few saxophone anthologies and Claude Delange
now adds valuably to that line-up with this new mix of French
familiars and discoveries.
flighty Ibert has a pleasing grate
and rasp and is done with zest and enchanting languor. Tomasi is amongst my long list of composers to recommend. His concerto is
sultry, warm-breathed, slightly sinister, fluent and devilishly
jazzy. It's in two movements like the Ibert. I recommend
further Tomasi recording projects and hope that he will be
accorded whole discs in future collections. He is a fascinating
composer and while there is a Mediterranean aspect to his
music he also wrote provocative pieces celebrating the French
love affair with the Far East.
I am no purist and am pleased
to welcome the Ravel Pavane in
an adaptation by Tami Nodaira. It is lovingly done although
it could here have benefited from a slower more caressing
performance. Beyond criticism, however, is the quiet volume
which is magically sustained and much the same can be said
of Maurice's lovely second movement of the suite - the Cansoun
per ma mio.
Paule Maurice is little known. Her light-on-the-palate
Provencal suite radiates warmth and glows with southern colours.
It is not without bubbling humour and breathtaking poetry
especially in the atmospheric Dis Alyscamps. The movements
are: I. Farandoulo di Chatouno 2:23;
II. Cansoun per ma mio 1:55; III. La
Boumanio 1:06; IV. Dis Alyscamps,
l’amo souspire 5:28; V. Lou Cabridan 3:28.
Florent Schmitt has
attracted the record companies and over the last year there
have been several piano collections and most recently the
Hyperion choral-orchestral CD. I impatiently await the first
commercial recording of his major work for cello and orchestra: Introit,
Recit et Congé. His Légende has none of the stage
grandeur of his big choral pieces. This Orientally mysterious
reflection has more to do with Koechlin’s orchestral fantasy Les
Heures Persanes. There is little in the way of overt
display although there are some transitory volcanic moments
as at 5:43 and a brief flourish at 10:10. It is undemonstrative
and pensive rather like Holst's Lyric movement for
viola and orchestra. In fact Légende also exists in a version
for viola and orchestra which was recorded years ago on Cybélia
The MilhaudScaramouche (I. Vif 2:52;
II. Modéré 3:59; III. Brazileira 2:20) is drawn from the
music he wrote for Molière's play The Fleet-Footed Doctor.
The music positively gurgles and bubbles with uproarious
good spirits though more tempered writing can be heard in
the Modéré middle movement. Delangle and Lan Shui guide us
colourfully and not too breathlessly through the final leisurely
and presentation are spot-on except that I would have liked
to have had more to read about Paule Maurice.
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