The saxophone quartet is not a common medium in classical music, but this independent release might bring it new fans. This is especially true considering the beautifully recorded sound here, from an unspecified location: it captures the subtle beats in the delicate interplay of the four saxophones. All of the works, except for two Copland arrangements by soprano saxophonist Paul Cohen, are native to the medium. The centerpiece, Diners, is by Robert Sirota, and three of its five movements are suggested by one of the New York/New England area's distinctive train car diners (the other two, more general, are simply titled "Road Trip" and "Neon"). The music is appropriately jazzy and lively, evoking a small room in constant motion. Joseph Trapanese's New York Rising is similarly modest in scope, aiming to depict not some general rising of the city, but the composer's impressions of the early morning as he studied there. David Noon's Saxophone Quartet #1 of 2001 is a neoclassic work with an especially lyrical set of variations in the middle; it sets the scene nicely for the closing saxophones version of Copland's Simple Gifts. There is a peppy miniature by Percy Grainger and another Copland arrangement, of pieces from the Suite from Our Town. These works play well with the contemporary works, and the whole is coherent and splendidly rendered.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|New York Rising|
|Suite from Our Town|
|Saxophone Quartet #1|