One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

French Connection
André CAPLET (1878-1925)

Légende (1903) [13:59]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Rapsodie (1901/08) [12:01]
Alfred DESENCLOS (1912-1971)
Prélude, Cadence et Finale (1956) [11:08]
André JOLIVET (1905-1974)
Fantaisie-Impromptu (1953) [3:42]
Pierre SANCAN (1916-2008)
Lamento et Rondo (1973) [7:54]
Florent SCHMITT (1870-1978)
Legende Op. 66 (1918) [10:44]
Francois BORNE (1840–1920)
Fantaisie Brillante sur des airs de ‘Carmen’ (1903) [13:06]
Eugene BOZZA (1905-1991)
Aria (1936) [3:22]
Jules DEMERSSEMAN (1833-1866)
Fantaisie sur un thème original (1866) [7:09]
Jean FRANCAIS (1912-1997)
Cinq danses exotiques (1961) [6:20]
Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974)
Scaramouche Op. 165 (1939) [10:21]
Paule MAURICE (1910-1967)
Tableaux de Provence (1960) [14:51]
Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992)
Tango-Etudes (1987) [12:56]
Duo Ultima (Guido Bäumer (saxophone), Aladár Rácz (piano))
rec. 2012/15, Víđistađakirkja, Hafnarfjörđur, Iceland.
ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD337 [59:33 + 68:08]

Invented by a Belgian in 1846, the saxophone has become ubiquitous in the jazz world and popular in quartet form when it comes to classical chamber music today. This richly varied and wide-ranging programme shows how warmly it was embraced by French composers at the turn of the 20th century and beyond, and with the silky-smooth sound produced by Guido Bäumer it is not hard to hear why.

André Caplet’s evocative Légende is a good starting point, this piano arrangement from an original that included string quartet and winds working very well indeed. Caplet’s connection to Debussy makes the latter’s Rhapsodie a logical follow-up. The strange story of its commission and being withheld from both publisher and purchasor is outlined in Joanna Wyld’s excellent booklet notes. This is late Debussy, with his impressionist fingerprint very much intact, and with a gently rhythmic second subject referring to southern climes. With its exploratory but expressive opening and virtuoso writing for the soloist, Alfred Desenclos’ Prélude, Cadence et Finale is a fine example of a jury piece, in this case for the Paris Conservatoire, while André Jolivet’s Fantaisie-Impromptu opens moodily before breaking into a jazz-infused scherzo. Deeper emotional passions are conjured in Pierre Sancan’s Lamento, the accompanying Rondo being an effectively rousing showpiece. Disc 1 concludes with Florent Schmitt’s extravagant Légende: another orchestral work that has been transcribed for piano, the exotic oriental colours in the piano not really an equivalent to the original, but resulting in a real workout for Aladár Rácz and an impressive work nonetheless.

The first CD for this set isn’t particularly heavy, but CD 2 has a greater proportion of lighter works, starting with François Borne’s Fantaisie Brillante sur des airs de ‘Carmen’. This was originally written for flute, and weaves Bizet’s tunes into an elaborate study in variation and transformation, turning vocal lines into an idiomatically challenging part for the soloist. Eugene Bozza’s Aria is one of his best-known pieces, and an eloquently expressive vehicle for any instrument. Like Borne, Jules Demersseman was a flautist, but took to the saxophone as an ‘early adopter’ when it came to his Fantaisie sur un thème original. There is some extended cadenza-like noodling from the solo, but with a good tune as a starting point this is a fine work.

Jean Français is typically fun-filled in his Cinq danses exotiques, a piece that started out for two pianos. This is a feast of South American syncopation that runs neatly into Darius Milhaud’s popular Scaramouche, another romp through Latin American culture and infectious in its inventiveness. Paule Maurice is the only female composer represented. Her Tableaux de Provence became quite a post-war hit, this arrangement following the success of a version with orchestra. Contrasting dreamy melodies with witty vignettes, this piece was intended to capture the spirit of a holiday in Provençe at which the saxophone pioneer Marcel Mule was also present. The programme concludes with Tango-Etudes by Astor Piazzolla, a suitably swinging tango sandwich, with the questioning Anxieux et rubato central movement as its tasty filling.

These performances are generally good, the piano sound perhaps a little glassy in the upper register and with one or two moments of stress in the saxophone at extremes. There is a sharp edit point in evidence 2:19 into Sancan’s Lamento but the recordings otherwise run without much in the way of hitches. Warmly generous sound quality is in fact a big bonus for this collection. These two musicians are clearly in fine synergy with each other, and this is an excellent place for expanding your collection of saxophone music.

Dominy Clements
 

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger