La Nuit de mai: Saxophone Recital | Odradek Records ODRCD388

La Nuit de mai: Saxophone Recital

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Label: Odradek Records

Cat No: ODRCD388

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 28th February 2020



A uniquely beautiful programme of pieces arranged for saxophone and piano, including works by Rebecca Clarke, Gabriel Fauré and Claude Debussy, thoughtfully curated and performed by Áyax Llorente and Orlando Bass.

This programme is threaded together using the evocative poetry of Alfred de Musset (1810-1857), whose text, ‘La nuit de mai’, inspired these artists as they compiled and interpreted these works. ‘La nuit de mai’ is the story of a musical journey that takes place on a languid spring night, from which loneliness, nostalgia, pain, and the reminiscences of a lost love emerge. The choice of this repertoire stems from a desire to reflect that poetic starting-point, but also from Llorente’s interest in exploring the musical and technical limits of the saxophone. This is a programme that embraces German Romanticism, English folklore, French Impressionism and hints of the music of the great Russian composers. A phrase from ‘La nuit de mai’ was included in the published score of Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata for viola and piano, in which she explores an array of moods and passions, her material lending itself remarkably well to the sound of the saxophone for this recording. Throughout Fauré’s First Violin Sonata, also heard in an arrangement for saxophone and piano, we can hear the influence of Fauré’s vocal music on his style, especially in his lyrical treatment of the themes; this vocal quality is well suited to the long-breathed capacity of the saxophone.

This release includes a new piece by Franco-British pianist and composer Orlando Bass himself: Veränderungen I, a short, rhapsodic piece based on Brahms’s famous Klavierstück, op.118 no.3. The concept of ‘Veränderung’, loosely translated as ‘metamorphosis’, is rendered through the transformation of Brahms’s original piano piece. This fascinating programme is rounded off with an arrangement for two saxophones and piano of Debussy’s Piano Trio in G major, for which Llorente and Bass are joined by another Spanish saxophonist, Maurici Esteller. This is an intelligent and unusual programme offering an essential insight into the expressive range of the saxophone.

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