Luciano BERIO (1925 – 2003)
Chemins IV (1975) [9:17]
Fourteen Duos (1979/83) [10:17]
Récit (1995) [15:50] Pierre BOULEZ (b.
Dialogue de l’ombre double (1985, arr. 2001) [17:35] Anton WEBERN (1883 – 1945)
Quartett Op.22 (1930) [5:33]
David (saxophones); Ensemble Quaerendo Invenietis/Renaud
Déjardin (Chemins, Recit)
rec. Espace de Projection de l’IRCAM, Paris, 12-14 October
has the lion’s share in this release centred on Vincent
David’s virtuosity and musicality. It must nevertheless
be noted that some of Berio’s works recorded here were
not originally written for saxophone and are presented
in arrangements. Chemins IV is the earliest work
although it is heard in an arrangement for soprano saxophone.
Berio actually composed several works, such as Chemins
II (viola and 9 players) and Chemins III (viola
and orchestra) sharing that title and based on some of
his Sequenze for solo instruments. Chemins
IV (1975), which is probably the best-known work
in this programme, draws on Sequenza VII for oboe
composed in 1969 and arranged for soprano saxophone by
Claude Delangle in 1995 as Sequenza VIIb.
IV is scored for a small ensemble of eleven strings
acting as a resonating box around the oboe or saxophone
part as does the instrumental ensemble (strings and percussion)
of Récit (Chemins VII) composed in 1995. This
was originally scored for alto saxophone and orchestra.
Vincent David arranged it for saxophone ensemble and
percussion under the composer’s supervision before making
the version for alto saxophone, twelve strings and percussion
(vibraphone and glockenspiel) heard here. This work is
not very different from the earlier Chemins IV although
the music is no longer devised so as to exploit the expressive
range of the instrument to the same extreme limits as
in the various Sequenze. The piece is tightly
structured as a substantial arch-form starting from low
D, reaching a high A flat before tracing its way back
to the opening D. The music is still quite demanding
on the soloist but, as in so many other works by Berio,
retains the characteristic bel canto that is one
of most endearing features of this composer’s music.
And this applies no matter how technically complex the
music may be. This very fine work is a most welcome addition
to Berio’s discography and should be popular with players
and audiences alike. Between 1979 and 1983 Berio composed 34
Duetti perdue violini clearly modelled on
Bartók’s Duets for two violins and sharing a similar
didactic aim. Berio’s Duetti are quite short -
the longest recorded here plays for 1:43) written as
modest tributes to some of the composer’s friends such
as Maderna, Globokar, Schchedrin or to some older composers
such as Bartók and Stravinsky. These miniatures are neatly
chiselled and serve their purpose well by setting real
but limited technical challenges that remain musically
rewarding. This release offers fourteen of them in arrangements
for soprano saxophone and violin, alto saxophone and
violin, two alto saxophones and two soprano saxophones.
In these, Vincent David is partnered either by Erwan
Fagant (saxophones) or Nicolas Miribel (violin), both
members of the Ensemble Quaerendo Invenietis.
de l’ombre double (1985) was originally composed
for clarinet and electronics as a 60th birthday
tribute to Berio. The title derives from a scene from
Paul Claudel’s play The Satin Slipper (“Le Soulier
de satin”) titled The Double Shadow. The solo
clarinet (or in this case saxophone) placed in the
centre of the concert hall dialogues with its shadow
on tape surrounded by a set of spatially situated loudspeakers.
The work as a whole is structured in several sections
played without a break. The present version for saxophones
and electronics was made by Vincent David in collaboration
with Boulez. This version for saxophones works quite
well, although saxophones add extra warmth when compared
to the original.
Op.22 may seem the Odd Man Out here although its
inclusion is justified by the rather unusual instrumental
line-up of violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone and piano.
As with many other mature works by this most ascetic
composer, the two movements that make-up this compact
work are quite short. The first movement Sehr mäßig
(“Very moderate”) is based on a twelve-tone row. The
second one Sehr schwungvoll (“Very energetic”)
is a short theme and variations using fragments from
the original tone row.
mentioned earlier in this review, this agreeably varied
release centres on Vincent David whose playing and musicality
are first rate throughout. He is superbly partnered by
all concerned. The recording and the global production
are well-up to Aeon’s best standards.
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