review

Chick Corea Children's songs: Saxophone quartet

This review was published on: August 22nd 2016
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This is a very interesting and often challenging edition to the sax quartet repertoire. Rob Buckland has purposefully arranged the movements in the order the Apollo Sax quartet performs them (13 minutes, nine short movements in total), but they are all so different in style and instrumentation that you could break up the work very successfully into shorter ‘suites’ and still have a viable contrasting programme.

The movements are quite varied in difficulty and would need a reasonably able group in order to do them full justice (Grade 7/8-plus). No key goes beyond five sharps, and in the two places this happens it’s just the baritone part that goes to five sharps. The individual parts are not particularly taxing for an advanced player but they do involve rhythmic precision, and the ensemble is often quite challenging. I can understand why four of the pieces are written in the SSTB format as it makes total sense for the voicings, but I wonder whether in practice these movements will get neglected? On the other hand, having two sopranos in a quartet could pose an interesting challenge all of its own and a nice variation to the standard line-up.

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The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 3010228, whose registered office is at 48 Henniker Point, Leytonstone Road, London, E15 1LQ. Email: finance (@) cassgb.org. Tel: 0845 644 0187

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