The three composers represented on this disc have all had different approaches to their respective works for saxophone quartet and string orchestra. With Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in mind, Sally Beamish has explored the idea of the four saxophones as a concertino, appearing both as an entity and as individual soloists against the ripieno of the strings. She consequently uses features of Baroque music, such as sequences and ornamentation, but also elements from traditional Scottish music. Steven Stucky has revelled in the sonic possibilities of the saxophone family, letting the soloists whisper, murmur, sigh, sing, squeal and even scream, while the strings are content mostly to form a modest backdrop. His Music for Saxophones and Strings falls into two sections – the first with a nocturnal, mysterious atmosphere, while the second is faster, skittish and playful with figures which in the composers own words may suggest ‘a distant echo of the bebop style’. Chen Yi, finally, has been inspired by the ancient music of her native China. The 'eight sounds' of the title refer to the traditional classification of Chinese instruments into eight different kinds, made of or with metal, stone, silk, bamboo, gourd, clay, leather and wood. The composer uses the saxophones and the strings to recapture her impressions of music she has heard played by Chinese villagers on old traditional instruments in various combinations. All of these three scores were composed for the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, an ensemble which has been likened to ‘the La Salle Quartet of the woodwind world’ and which has inspired countless composers to write for them. They are supported by the eminent Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Robin Engelen in the orchestra's first appearance on BIS.
Extra material for download