COMPOSERS: Bryars,Glass,Nyman & Riley,Reich
LABELS: Clarinet Classics
WORKS: Music by Reich, Glass, Bryars, Nyman & Riley
PERFORMER: Delta Saxophone Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CCD 024
This group, which specialises in contemporary repertoire, has established itself as among the leading ensembles of its type and is responsible for commissioning several important contributions to the genre. Among these is Gavin Bryars’s Alaric I or II and their performance of this exceptionally difficult piece is especially welcome since the only other available version, recorded by eminent but highly individual jazz players, is not entirely successful.
The Delta Quartet makes light of the extraordinary technical demands of this work and its forays into the extreme altissimo registers and control of multiphonics are most impressive. This piece is quite unlike anything else written for the medium and contains a wealth of fascinating sounds. Reich’s New York Counterpoint is well known in its original clarinet form, but this authorised arrangement for 12 saxophones was first recorded by the Rascher Quartet. Here, too, the Delta Quartet gives a more satisfying rendition, bringing greater intensity and energy to what is rapidly becoming one of the most popular minimalist works.
The pieces by Glass and Riley are also transcriptions made by the group but both work extremely well, especially Glass’s Mishima, originally conceived as a string quartet but which, in some respects, benefits from the added power of saxophones.