Debussy, Caplet, DÕindy, Schmitt & Ravel

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COMPOSERS: Caplet,D’Indy,Debussy,Schmitt & Ravel
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: A Saxophone for a Lady
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Claude Delangle (saxophone), Odile Delangle (piano)
The inspiration for this recording derives from a remarkable American woman, Elise Boyer Hall, who was both a music entrepreneur of exceptional vision and the saxophonist responsible for contributing a great deal to the early repertoire of the instrument. Advised to take up the saxophone for health reasons, she commissioned at least 22 predominantly French works between 1900 and 1915 and was at the centre of music-making in Boston. The tribute offered here is curiously anomalous in two respects: of the seven works chosen, only four were actually composed for her and all are transcribed or arranged in some way; and, secondly, Claude Delangle uses a modern instrument for five of these pieces yet changes to an authentic period instrument – the first time I have heard of this practice among saxophonists – for the remaining two. In view of the extensive list of works which are attributable to Elise Hall’s patronage, it seems odd to include a transcription of Ravel’s Sonatine for piano, while the apparantly random change of instruments strikes me as somewhat eccentric. Claude Delangle, though an undisputed world leader in the field of contemporary music, is not at all convincing in this repertoire and his rather detached, cool approach to these pieces does little to enhance their cause. Tim Payne