Nyman, Carpenter, Levine, Fitkin & Buckley

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Carpenter,Fitkin & Buckley,Levine,Nyman
LABELS: Black Box
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Faces
WORKS: Stub; Songs for Tony
PERFORMER: Quartz Saxophone Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: BBM 1024
Hot on the heels of the better known Apollo and Delta saxophone quartets comes the Quartz, a group of four eager young players with this well paced, nicely programmed recital disc. Graham Fitkin’s abrasive Stub stands out from the mostly engaging repertoire for its wit and unpretentiousness, while Alexander Levine’s neo-Romantic Faces proves a refreshing revisiting of prelude and fugue form. Nyman shamlessly recycles old tunes in his Songs for Tony, but the piece doesn’t outstay its welcome.

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What undoubtedly marks the players out is their enthusiasm for their impressively wide-ranging material, but while their combined tone can be impressive – Gary Carpenter’s suite of miniatures Une semaine de bonté, in particular, gives them many chances to shine in a remarkable variety of textures and sounds – enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of them, resulting in occasional harsh, rasping tones which might pass as expression but are in fact simply unpleasant. Sometimes things need to feel a little more effortless. Some may question the very close recording, which often includes audible beathing and key clicks, but it seems entirely in keeping with the group’s fresh, invigorating approach. David Kettle