Jacques Ibert

Concertino da camera, for alto saxophone & 11 instruments

    Description by James Reel

    By the 1930s many of France's leading composers were jazz besotted, and Ibert was no exception. His saxophone concertino not only appropriates jazz's most characteristic instrument, but employs plenty of syncopation and, in the slow section, some bluesy material. Still, this is not crossover music, but a classical piece inspired by a few specific pop trends of the day.

    The brief work begins with an Allegro con moto entering with a raucous blast from the small ensemble of strings and winds. The soloist quickly bursts in with a percolating tune that eventually makes way for a second subject that croons in the saxophone's high register. Here and in the very brief development section, Ibert maintains a close, complex interplay between the soloist and the little band; indeed, the saxophone is reduced to noodling in the background when the strings take over the second subject.

    The Larghetto is a lonely, bluesy solo that sends the saxophone gliding oh-so-gradually up and down its entire range, with the strings entering at length to provide simple support for the sax's ballad-like material. Eventually the woodwinds provide their own paraphrase of the theme, followed by a string statement. Without a break, the concluding Animato molto arrives with jittery material over which the saxophone dances and hovers. One of the soloist's main themes is lyrical but still syncopated. The concertino's only cadenza arrives near the end, a free riff on tiny fragments of the movement's main, sewing-machine theme; soloist and ensemble offer a bright restatement of this main theme in full, scampering to an upbeat conclusion.


    1. Allegro con moto
    2. Larghetto, poi animato molto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Genuin GEN 16401
    2013 Titanic TI- 278
    2010 ACA / Aca Digital 20092
    2009 Arts Music 47748
    2008 Chandos 10466
    2007 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4539912
    2007 BIS 1357
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics 5866482
    2005 Brilliant 6476
    2004 Stradivarius 33662
    2002 Naxos 8557063
    2002 Clarinet Classics 0040
    2001 Sony Classical 89251
    2001 Arte Nova 27786
    2000 Naxos 554784
    2000 Agora Musica 242
    1999 Centaur Records 2400
    1997 Crystal Records Dist. CD655
    1996 Newport Classic 85598
    1996 Clarinet Classics 13
    1992 Koch International Classics 7094
    1992 Marco Polo 223374
    Adda 581263
    REM 311146
    EMI Music Distribution 72109