French Saxophone Concertos
Pierre DUBOIS (1930-95)
Saxophone Concerto No. 2.
Jean RIVIER (1896-1987)
Concerto for Saxophone, Trumpet and String
Patrice SCIORTINO (b1922)
Daniel Gremelle (saxophone);
Antoine Curé (trumpet); Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra/Bystrík
Marco Polo 8.225127 [DDD]
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This is the second disc of works for saxophone and orchestra to appear in
a short space of time: pieces by Schmitt, D'Indy, Debussy and Milhaud feature
with Johannes Ernst as soloist on Arte Nova 74321 67510-2.
Daniel Gremelle is a convincing exponent of his chosen repertoire. Gremelle
premiered Dubois' Second Concerto for alto saxophone and he is obviously
fully conversant with its light-hearted, entertaining air. Dubois is a Milhaud
pupil, a fact immediately apparent in the spiky harmonic language. There
are plenty of opportunities for Gremelle's virtuosity to shine, for example
in the moto perpetuo of the second movement (taken at a true prestissimo).
The appearance of a tango in the last movement is a charming surprise.
The pairing of alto sax and trumpet is unexpected but remarkably successful.
There is much humour in Rivier's concerto (from 1955), the brightness of
the trumpet intertwining with the easy agility of the saxophone. Neither
piece makes as big an impression as the Sciortino (again written for Gremelle).
'Sonances' is magically scored, the charged harmonies of the second movement
('Prends!') complementing the warm percussion blanket of sounds in the third
('Frappe!'). The most advanced piece of this disc, it servers as a fitting
climax to a worthwhile issue.