Saxophone Voices from Five
Countries Ron NELSON (b.1929)
1. Danza Capriccio (c.1988) [12:32] Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950)
2. Andante – from 15 Pièces pour Cor et Piano Op.180 No.7 [3:14]
3. Le Repos de Tityre from 11 Monodies pour Instruments àVent
Op.216 No.10 [2:39] Paul BONNEAU (1918-1995)
4. Caprice en forme de Valse [4:49] Elliot DEL BORGO (b.1938)
5. Canto [4:42] Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
6. Fantasia for soprano saxophone (1948) [10:18] Toshiyuki and Naomi HONDA (b.1957)
7. Four Jazz Etudes [16:00] Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
8. Tango from the Tango Etudes [3:27] Rudy WIEDOEFT (1893-1940)
9. Saxophobia [1:45]
Keith R Young
Judith Radell (piano, 1 & 9)
Angelo Versace (piano, 7)
Ron Warren (piano 2, 3 & 6)
rec. Complex One Recording Studio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, 2006-2007
(5, 7, 8 & 9); University of Maryland
Tawes Recital Hall, 1997 (4 & 6) and 1990 (2 & 3);
Indiana University of Pennsylvania Gorell Recital Hall 2000
(1) CRYSTAL RECORDS CD659 [60:20]
as ever Crystal Records here investigates some entertaining
twentieth century works for saxophone. The saxophone colossus
and protagonist is Keith R Young, whose chops are put to the
test in a demanding programme. He’s by no means the first saxophone
player to be covered in this series – Kenneth Tse has had an
extensive role to play, and Harvey Pittel, Laura Hunter, Lawrence
Gwozdz and Bill Perconti have all recorded for the label.
of the most disconcerting things in this recital though is the
change in acoustics as we move from one location to another. Ron
Nelson’s piece is rather sabotaged by the echo and by virtue
of the very backwardly placed piano, which might as well have
been in another room. There are some testing demands here with
some cruelly high writing that finds Young wanting. The enjoyable
cantabile central section offsets these punishments well – and
there’s a fast, agile conclusion. The piece is broadly traditional
and was written c.1988.
has disinterred a couple of Koechlin’s rather beautiful pieces;
the Andante from 15 Pièces pour Cor et Piano is a lovely
chanson whereas Le Repos de Tityre from 11 Monodies
pour Instruments à Vent is a brief, if expressive, solo for soprano saxophone. I enjoyed Paul
Bonneau’s Caprice en forme de Valse greatly. It too is
for solo saxophone and has its share of quixotic, virtuosic
pileups. But the dialogues are full of theatre and excitement
and there’s a wait-for-it payoff at the end that will bring
a smile to even the flintiest of mouths.
Borgo’s Canto is rather melancholic – despite the fast
runs and even squeals. Better is Villa-Lobos’ Fantasia where
allure and plasticity of melodic line ensure permanent enthusiasm.
It’s rightly conversational in tone, not querulous like some
on this disc, with a lonely winding slow movement and a splendid
finale. Toshiyuki and Naomi Honda wrote Four Jazz Etudes.
The notes say the first is a Swing duet; Bop surely. The Etudes
are written for soprano and alto with piano and Young digs into
them with relish, enjoying the tumbling lines, the funkier workouts
and the light hearted moments in Fake, the second Etude.
Piazzolla’s Tango is ever-busy and talking of which we
are pitched back to the 1920s with Rudy Wiedoeft’s Saxophobia with
its full ratio of varsity pep.
is joined by a trio of pianists in an array of recording locations.
These, as noted, can be erratically captured. It’s an unusual
programme, generally well performed. Stylistically there’s nothing
too way out here.
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