Grave et Presto - Jean Rivier
Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor - J.S. Bach
Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 - Heitor Villa-Lobos
Jubilate Deo - Gregor Aichinger
La Cruda Mia Nemica - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Revecy Venir Du Printans - Claudin Le Jeune
Quartet for Saxophones - Theodore Stern
Gayne's Adagio - Aram Khachaturian
Sonata No. 44 - Domenico Scarlatti
Three Blues for Saxophone Quartet - Charles H. Ruggiero
Total Time 65:11
Here's an attractive and stunningly played program of saxophone quartet music, ranging from baroque transcriptions to modern shades of blues. Proceeding in chronological order, the Renaissance Suite serves up three late-16th century vocal works by Aichinger, Palestrina, and Le Jeune, arranged to bracing effect by William Schmidt. Similarly, Fred Henke manages to map Scarlatti's keyboard terrain in terms of saxophone geography. Roger Greenberg's arrangement of Bach's famous D minor Toccata and Fugue, however, barely hints at the music's gushing, improvisatory fervor. By contrast, the sensuous, massed cello writing in Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 lends itself well to four saxophones (actually five: the original wordless soprano part is assumed by the great saxophonist and pedagogue Harvey Pittel).
Jean Rivier's Grave et presto and Theodore Stern's three-movement Quartet are well-crafted, conservative works that typify mid-20th century neo-classic tonality. Charles H. Ruggiero's Three Blues for Saxophone Quartet use the time-honored 12-bar blues form as a jumping off point for whimsical invention. The gorgeous sound does ample justice to the Orion Quartet's superb musicianship and rich tonal palette. Classical saxophone connoisseurs will surely want to acquire this disc.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com