Canfield: Saxophone Sonatas

Album review
Canfield: Saxophone Sonatas


Saxophone Sonatas

Label: Kenneth Tse. Enharmonic
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

Vinyl collectors know David Canfield for his mail-order sales of vintage classical LPs, but he’s also an accomplished composer, as these pieces he wrote for saxophone virtuoso Kenneth Tse show: four sonatas (one for each size saxophone) plus a trio for two saxes and piano, and a couple of short duos. The music is more Gallic than American, with wayward, long-lined melodies, florid cadenzas, luxuriant polytonal harmonies, jazzy inflections, and jaunty rhythms that bounce or glide along with life-affirming energy and relaxed insouciance. Allegros are busy and slinky, adagios more languorous and dreamy than darkened; even the baritone sax sonata’s march funèbre seems more mock- solemn than genuinely grieving. Tse plays all seven of these bravura creations with silken tone, liquid phrasing, and confident finesse. Sonics are clear but dry in the studio recordings, though the alto sax sonata, recorded in concert, is captured in immediate, detailed, airy sound that vividly conveys its nuances, as when, in the Ravelian adagio, Tse plays echoing arabesques into the piano’s open lid while the pianist depresses the sustain pedal, radiating a magical halo of slowly-decaying sympathetic harmonics: a memorable and magical effect. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Canfield
  • CD

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