Thomas FORTMANN (b.1951)
Sonata for Saxophone and Piano [10:15]
Marco Falaschi (alto sax), Marco Podesta (piano)
Catholic Blues [6:07]
Marco Falaschi (alto), Roberto Frati (baritone), Steve Potts (soprano),
Ettore Candela (piano)
BacH Cab [6:50]
Davide Vallini (soprano), Carlo Lapegna (piano)
Eben, eben (1984) [3:08]
Marco Falaschi (alto), Carlo Lapegna (piano)
Three Piggies in Clover [4:41]
Marco Falaschi (soprano), Francesca Corsi (alto), Carlo Lapegna
Pop Oh Kakapitl [2:45]
Sonatina (That Goretti Thing) (2008) [4:58]
Davide Vallini (soprano), Milo Vanelli (tenor)
A Little American Night Music [6:30]
A Whale in the Circus (from the stage production 'Collidis
Ruber Marani (soprano), Marco Falaschi (alto), Francesca Corsi
(baritone), Carlo Lapegna (piano), Devis Tarolli (drums)
rec. [2009?], Studio Montevarchi, (Italy) except Teatro degli Unanimi
(Catholic Blues); il poderino della Gioiosa Casale Marittimo (Sonata)
METIER MSV 28512 [51:40]
I recently reviewed Fortmann’s Saxophone
sonata on an Antes disc where it nestled comfortably in a mixed
programme by other composers (see review).
Here Thomas Fortmann stands alone, in a disc devoted entirely
to his works for saxophone.
As noted elsewhere the Sonata is in three conventionally written movements but it covers enjoyable stylistic ground. The bluesy songfulness that suffuses it announces Fortmann as an unstuffy admirer of the colloquial American muse. The central panel brings more active, though hardly militant, pianism. The Hopperesque slow movement adopts a more aloof, guarded and hooded profile, whereas the finale is freewheeling, reprising the blues motif of the opening with pride, this time rejuvenated.
Catholic Blues goes from delicacy to the slow insinuation
of the Blues, in looser funkier lines than the sonata. Steve
Potts’s (presumably) rolling, improvised lines later
on add a hard core jazz profile. BacH Cab (as written)
exudes baroque procedure as well as richly chordal piano, though
the piano does espouse more biting, acerbic writing beneath
the sax’s aloof and independent line. There’s a
funky Keith Jarrett element in Eben, eben amidst the more reflective material. A rock groove runs throughout Three Piggies in Clover. His work for saxophone quartet is interesting; Sonkran cleaves
to Fortmann’s more cerebral and withdrawn side whilst Pop Oh Kakapitl - the man has a way with titles - is genial and tuneful.
The Sonatina has Ragtimey exchanges between the soprano and tenor protagonists and engaging it is too. And in A Little American Night Music he plays with - what else? - some Wolfgang Amadeus, infusing it with Ragtime, Swing and dance patterns galore. A Whale in the Circus alerts us to the zany side of things, a real big top sensibility written to amuse and entertain.
Fortmann is no stuffed shirt, no long-hair merchant, and no
purveyor of tone rows. His music is locked into jazz, and rock
backbeat and the sinuous song of saxophonic yearning. His musicians
serve him finely, and they’ve been well recorded.