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Low down and dirty – free classical download #11

The saxophone, a Paris invention of 1841, is a cuckoo in the classical nest, never accorded full membership of the symphony orchestra. The concertos it has acquired are oddities by the likes of Glazunov, Ibert, Villa Lobos – and a Rhapsody that Debussy left in piano score and never completed. 

Today’s free download is a sultry piece by Henri Tomasi (1901-71), a Marseilles musician of mystic disposition and a profound attachment to the Mediterranean. It is played, further down the beach, by Greek saxophonist, Theodore Kerzekos, accompanied by the LSO and Yuri Simonov. Lovely stuff.

Tomasi: Concerto pour saxophone et orchestra – II Giration: Finale.

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  1. To borrow a line from the Stan Kenton-Nat Cole hit “Orange Colored Sky”…”Watch out for flying glass!” Some preconceived notions may be flying out the window as well. Maybe it’s the 19 years I spent at a jazz radio station, but I’ve never quite understood why more classical composers haven’t seen the possibilities of the saxophone.
    This sample is quite an amazing demonstration, both of the instrument’s expressive powers and of the virtuoso playing to which it lends itself. We have some recordings by Kerkezos at WCNY, and one of our hosts recently played one of them as I recall. I hope we can add this one to the library as well; it’s an exciting piece, beautifully played. Thanks again, Norman; I hope you’ve opened some ears and minds!

  2. Classical composers have written quite a bit for saxophone – mostly in genres that are marginalized: tonal-modern stuff from the 1920s-50s and atonal contempo-scary from the ’80s to today. The latter is challenging enough to audiences with traditional instruments. The former is mostly buried by deliberate neglect.

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