Amy Dickson

Glass

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After the success of her album of music by Philip Glass, John Tavener, and Michael Nyman, saxophonist Amy Dickson turns here to Glass exclusively. This is, as she points out in her own notes, an expanded technical challenge, demanding circular breathing and a great deal of sheer stamina. The music is all arranged for saxophone, in the case of the violin sonata and violin concerto by Dickson herself (the selections from the film score The Hours are by her husband, who worked from Glass' handwritten score -- a form of endorsement). Glass has made fewer alternate versions of his own works than has Arvo Pärt, but the logic supporting such treatment is the same: new light is cast on the planes and pillars that, aurora-like, make up the structure of the music. And here, a new technical element is added. Dickson indicates that the violin sonata, with its near-constant motion for the saxophone, was the more difficult of the two works technically, but it is satisfying likewise in purely musical terms: the saxophone adds new small accents that are fundamental to the experience of Glass' music. The concerto is also nicely done: the Royal Philharmonic under Mikel Toms creates the liquid orchestral sound Glass seems to favor in the recordings on his own Orange Mountain Music label. This may seem a project that's ancillary to Glass' main output, but Dickson makes a good case that it is instead an unexplored avenue of its development. Kudos to Sony for taking a chance here.

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