This recital brings together four sonatas: masterpieces of chamber music, original works for saxophone and piano, and transcriptions. From the Soviet Union to the Great Lakes of the United States of America, with a stopover in Berlin, where East and West collided during a twentieth century full of conflicts, the composers’ appeal reaches across international borders thanks to an ingenious fusion of styles from around the world which results in delightful and universal music.
Edison Denisov (1929-1996) – Sonata
III. Allegro moderato
A masterpiece in the saxophone repertoire commissioned by saxophonist Jean-Marie Londeix, this sonata is one of the first works for saxophone to use contemporary instrumental effects. Braving the prohibitions imposed by the Soviet regime, the composer takes inspiration from the language of jazz in the final movement, producing a work of impressive virtuosity.
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) – Hot-Sonate
Composed in 1930 by German Jew Erwin Schulhoff, the Hot-Sonate is a delicious hybrid work fusing jazz and modernism from the early twentieth century. Drawing on improvisation, blues and dance from the ‘30s during its four movements, the density and fineness of this sonata make it a little jewel in the chamber music repertoire.
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) – Sonata for viola op.4 n°11
II. Thema mit Variationen
III. Finale (mit Variationen)
This famous fantasy-sonata with its sublime lyricism and charming themes and variations, composed for the viola in 1919, adapts perfectly to the warm sound of the saxophone in a dense and subtle dialogue between the two instruments.
William Albright (1944-1998) – Sonata
I. Two-Parts Invention
II. La follia nuova : A lament for George Cacioppo
III. Scherzo Will o’the Wisp
IV. Recitative and dance
William Albright’s sonata is composed of four successful and contrasting movements, ranging from a homage to Bach and his inventions to a deeply lyrical lament, sneaking through a barely murmured scherzo to end with a bright Mad Dance with be-bop and even techno music accents!
The recital “Postcards” takes us on a journey around the world, leaving behind the sometimes dark, playful, warm or crystalline sonorities of the alto and soprano saxophones, accompanied by the sensitive piano of Akvilé Sileikaité.
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) – Hot Sonate
Composed in 1930 by German Jew Erwin Schulhoff, the Hot-Sonate is a delicious hybrid work fusing jazz and modernism from the early twentieth century. Drawing on improvisation, blues and dance from the ‘30s during its four movements, the density and fineness of this sonata make it a little gem in the chamber music repertoire.
Pierre-Max Dubois (1930-1995) – Pièces Caractéristiques en forme de Suite
These miniatures by Pierre Max Dubois, original pieces for saxophone, are small exotic interludes with humorous accents that take us on a round-the-world trip: A la Française, A la Russe, A l’Espagnole, A la Parisienne, and A la Hongroise!
– Intermission –
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) – Sonate pour Hautbois et piano
The final work by the French composer of the “Groupe des Six“, this chamber music work was written in 1962 (at the same time as the sonata for clarinet) in memory of his friend Prokofiev. It is both acid and dark, blending with the soprano saxophone tone, and its three movements (Elegy, Scherzo, Lamentation) show a refined style reaching its peak.
Rodion Schedrin (1932*) – Alla Albeniz
Composed in the style of Albeniz during his years at the Conservatory in Moscow, this piece uses almost parodic tango accents. It is dedicated to his wife, ballerina Maiya Plisetskaya, for whom he also later wrote two tangos for the stage.
François Borne (1840-1920) – Fantaisie Brillante sur des airs de Carmen
A potpourri of arias from Bizet’s opera “Carmen”, this virtuoso piece, originally written for flute and orchestra and arranged for saxophone and piano by Swiss saxophonist Iwan Roth, sparkles and spins with vertiginous swirling arpeggios and variations.