Collection: Simply Four Saxophones

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Francaix,Rivier
LABELS: EMI Debut
WORKS: Grave et Presto; Petit Quatuor pour Saxophones
PERFORMER: Adelphi Saxophone Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: CDZ 5 72527 2

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Having spent years trying to champion the cause of the saxophone quartet as a serious chamber music medium, I have to confess to disappointment at this choice of programme, which includes only two original compositions. I dispute the contention in the booklet note that a lack of serious repertoire necessitates the use of arrangements and suggest that the performance of Jean Rivier’s Grave et Presto is the clear highlight of the recital.

The Adelphi’s rendition of this is first-rate and gives the group its best opportunity to display interpretative skills. The other original work is the Petit quatuor pour saxophones by Jean Françaix which, although considered among the lightest of the authentic repertoire, is nevertheless a witty and amusing piece, and is given an equally spirited reading. The transcriptions, some of them by members of the group, are well done and make for enjoyable listening, but leave me wishing that they had presented a more musically challenging experience rather than simply trying to offer wide stylistic variety.

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Overall intonation and ensemble are exemplary and, while I occasionally found some of the playing slightly too bright for my taste, the quartet has an admirable blend of sound. Tim Payne