‘I’m not sure I’ve ever appreciated how lovely the saxophone can sound until hearing this. Warmth, character and joy abound.’
Michael Beek – BBC Music Magazine
As an exploration of our theme of The Relationship between Literature, Art & Music, this programme presents many interesting works for saxophone and piano.
Paule Maurice’s Tableaux de Provence for example is a sensitive portrait of an area of France richly associated with the work of some of the country’s most admired painters – Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and Vincent van Gogh to name but a few.
Milhaud’s Scaramouche is taken from incidental music that he originally composed for two plays. The music of the first and third movements was inspired by Molière’s play Le Médecin volant; the central movement takes its theme from music Milhaud composed in 1936 for the overture to Jules Supervielle’s opera, Bolivar.
Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage was inspired by Goethe’s famous novel of self-realization, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. Liszt clearly imagines these compositions within the traditions of the Romantic literature of his time, prefacing most pieces with a literary passage from writers such as Schiller, Byron or Senancour. In an introduction to the entire work he wrote:
‘Having recently travelled to many new countries, through different settings and places consecrated by history and poetry; having felt that the phenomena of nature and their attendant sights did not pass before my eyes as pointless images but stirred deep emotions in my soul… I have tried to portray in music a few of my strongest sensations and most lively impressions.’
The programme also includes an evocative new work from November 2023 by rising new British composer Dani Howard and the scintillating Carmen Fantasy, a virtuosic distillation of Bizet’s operatic version of Prosper Mérimée’s dramatic novella.
- Richard Sisson (Chair of Luton Music)
Paule Maurice – Tableaux de Provence
Gilles Silvestrini – Études
Darius Milhaud – Scaramouche
Dani Howard – Dancing Shadows
Franz Liszt – Années de Pèlerinage II, S.161: Il Penseroso; Sposalizio
Alexander Rosenblatt / Georges Bizet – Carmen Fantasy
Jonathan Radford – saxophone
Ashley Fripp – piano
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