Here’s a colorful, sophisticated program showcasing
the marvelous alto saxophonist Claude Delangle, who’s collaborated
with Piazzolla, Boulez, Berio, Takemitsu, and Salonen and who has been
singled out for praise on
before. His new album with the Swedish Wind
Ensemble is consistently ear-catching.
The appetizer is a suite of three numbers from John Williams’
film score Catch Me If You Can
, one of my favorites of Williams
- it avoids cliché and captures the movie’s spirit well.
Then it’s on to the title work, Darius Milhaud’s La création
. Delangle is absent, but some friends of the players join
for the string parts. It’s a delightful, jazzy performance with
Roger Boutry’s Divertimento
for saxophone and band has
a seductive French swagger and incredible songlike slow movement which
make its appeal instant. Boutry arranged the piece for this recording;
it was originally for sax and strings, and the rescoring includes great
touches like muted trumpets in the andante.
The introduction to Paul Creston’s concerto makes it sound like
the American response to Khachaturian (xylophone!), but the solo saxophonist’s
lyrical instincts take over the proceedings, including a great duet
with flutes. The finale is bursting with wit; it feels like something
I know and love and can’t quite put my finger on.
Anders Emilsson’s Salute the Band
is the odd piece out,
a mosaic of ideas: some pulsate, some clash, some have Elgarian pomp,
some are tense, some are grindingly dissonant … and Piazzolla’s
is a wonderful encore.
With good sound and BIS’s usual classy presentation - although
this is not an SACD hybrid - I find this absurdly easy to welcome. Anyone
interested in the saxophone or jazzy, snappy modern repertoire will
find much to enjoy. It’s a cosmopolitan, sophisticated album to
put on while enjoying a glass of red wine and some witty conversation.