Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




CD: Naxos Direct

Anders NILSSON (b.1956)
Phonetasy for Saxophone Quartet (2008) [10:01]
Niklas BREMAN (b.1966)
Dinkum Thinkum II for Saxophone Quartet (2005/2007) [6:07]
Gunnar JANSSON (b.1944)
Saxophone Quartet no.1 (1996) [18:12]
Fredrik SÖDERBERG (b.1966)
Ocellatus for Saxophone Quartet and Percussion (2000) [5:27]
Marie SAMUELSSON (b.1956)
Siren for Saxophone Quartet (1996) [6:51]
Jan LEVANDER (b.1959)
Nisse (George) for Saxophone Quartet (1999/2009) [19:43]
Lullaby to Katja Marie for Saxophone Quartet and Percussion (1999) [3:27]
Swedish Saxophone Quartet 'Rollin' Phones' (Tove Nyland (soprano saxophone); Kristin Uglar (alto saxophone); Helena Friman (tenor saxophone); Neta Norén (baritone saxophone); Daniel Saur (percussion))
rec. Stockholm, December 2009 and June 2010. DDD

Experience Classicsonline

Phonetasy by the Rollin' Phones on Phono Suecia - the over-zealous work of a trendy marketing phonatic? Be that as it may, what lies beneath the uncommunicative, nay miscommunicative, CD cover is a wealth of intriguing, sometimes excellent music.
There will be those who will never listen to saxophone quartets on principle - the principle being, presumably, that they are bound to sound jazzy, muzak-like or plain unpleasant. Yet a lot can be achieved with a soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone - the higher registers can sound uncannily like clarinets and oboes, the lower registers bassoon-like - especially in the hands (and mouths) of the masterly Swedish Saxophone Quartet a.k.a. the Rollin' Phones, who have been going strong since 1986. And to their credit, all the works on the disc have been commissioned by them over the last fifteen years or so.
Anders Nilsson's Phonetasy is a good choice to open the programme. It is inventive, varied and marvellously lyrical, with many moments of real beauty. It is a hard work to follow, and Niklas Breman's Dinkum Thinkum II is probably the worst choice. The title comes, as it happens, from the name of a machine, in a story by Robert Heinlein, that starts to think and ask existential questions. There is a deliberately strong rhythmic roboticness to this piece which, however, starts to sound repetitive and wearying by the second hearing.
The Saxophone Quartet no.1 by Gunnar Jansson, the oldest featured composer - and probably the only one to have written a saxophone sextet! - is a straightforwardly attractive work, as traditional as a quartet for saxophones written in the 1990s can be. Plenty of ideas, plenty of strong melodies and harmonies, a satisfying whole.
Fredrik Söderberg describes the inspiration for his Ocellatus as "fish, a bit of jazz and a little Philip Glass": if nothing else, curiosity should attract listeners. Ocellatus is a type of fish with a strange rutting ritual involving the burial of mollusc shells, and this Söderberg somehow attempts to capture in his music, with the help of "two or three deliberately monotonous themes" (hence, presumably, the Philip Glass reference). This piece was actually commissioned by the Rollin' Phones themselves in 2001, and is much more action-packed and worthwhile than it Söderberg's description suggests, with the various percussion sounds adding an extra dimension - Söderberg really does succeed in evoking the peculiar seabed shenanigans of ocellatus.
Continuing the watery theme, the Siren of Marie Samuelsson's work is of the nymph variety, with the original idea being that the baritone would represent the ship's foghorn and the other three instruments the sirens, bewitching and luring. Samuelsson changed her mind about this idea during composition, but listening to the music it is hard not to picture such a scene. All four saxes play leggiero throughout, lending the piece a fog-bound, mesmerising feel.
Jan Levander is represented by two works, though Lullaby to Katja Marie is little over three minutes long. He wrote this for his two-year-old daughter, and describes the piece as "a kind of game in which you have to follow the melody through the different sizes of saxophone." Augmented by some light percussion, this is a tuneful little work, easy on the ears of a youngster about to nod off. The same cannot be said about Levander's other work, Nisse (George), also for quartet and percussion, which is both the most modernistic work, and the most postmodernist, and the jazziest, on the disc! According to the composer, the five movements can be played in any order, with various other leeways for the performers, the idea being that each performance should be unique. The Rollin' Phones, who commissioned the work in 2001, play the five sections A (Back), B (Bottom), C (One Side), D (Front), E (Other Side) here in the order A, E, D, C, B, which means it starts off well - for those who enjoy expressionistic music, at least - and then more or less gets worse as the work progresses. A and E and C are the modernist pieces, D begins Kurt Weillishly but soon turns to the clichés of jazz funk, with an over-the-top drum presence, and B, said by Levander to have a "hiphop beat", has even more tediously repetitive jazz/ethnic drumming.
The recording quality in the soundproof studio is excellent, with the saxophones ideally balanced.
The booklet is also excellent - glossy pages, photos, informative and varied notes, including a short interview with Neta Norén, commentaries on each piece by their composers, brief but informative biographies on the Quartet and each of the composers, full track information - and all this in a clear font on a clean background.




















































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.