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Welsh saxophones & Swedish lute

Lunar Saxophone Quartet

Joel Garthwaite (Soprano), Hannah Riches (Alto), Lewis Evans (Tenor), Lauren Hamer (Baritone)

John Metcalf, Hilary Tann, Chris Painter, Ashley John Long, Mark David Boden, Chris Petrie and Peter Reynolds, (composers)

Signum SIGCD233

The Welsh composers for this saxophone quartet, recorded in Ty Cerdd June/July, range in age from early twenties to '50s, and all are interesting in different ways. LSQ stress that they like to work with composers from early rehearsals "when the music gets done". Commissioning new scores is the life-blood of their repertoire; there is "no fallback postion into repertoire of the past". The disc is very up-to-date; one of the pieces had its premiere only this month...

I tend to be cautious with 'classical' saxophones; they can be strident and assertive, especially in small-venue recitals, but here the sound is home-friendly, mainly discreet and mellow.

Signum's production is strikingly good; properly informative and interesting notes, with graphic design and photography unified. The quartet seems to have been on a coffee break when this illustration was made.


Liuto con forza

Bengt Hambneus; Ivo Nilsson; Lars Ekstrom; Erik Peters; lngvar Karkoff; Kent Olofsson (Composers)

Peter Soderberg (lutes & theorbo)

PhonoSuecia PSCD186

A seemingly anomalous addition to the notable con forza series of instrumental discs of contemporary Swedish music, which no players searching out new repertoire should miss.

The lute (and mine, the clavichord) are the quietest of instruments. But if you can "keep your fingers off the volume control", you'll soon learn that listening volume is relative and that these instruments can pull a punch within their parameters.

Importantly, Peter Söderberg eschewed pastiche from his commissions and selection; this is in line with a new generation of early instrument players who seek to bring their pigeon-holed instruments into the 21st century; recent examples enjoyed have been recorder players Pernille Petersen and Quartet New Generation featured in challenging new music commissions at the Greenwich Early Music Festival.

Some of the composers are lutenists, others not. Ekstrom once guided tours around Erik XVI's Castle - playing the lute on the way round as the King used to do...

Recommended to open-minded lutenists...

Peter Grahame Woolf