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Katzer, Levy, Ligeti Neuwirth, Tüür & Xenakis

Six Bagatelles (Gyorgy Ligeti). Lamentatio (Erkki-Sven Tüür). Wie ein Hauch ... doch manchmal (Georg Katzer). Durch (Fabien Levy). Ondate (Olga Neuwirth). XAS (Iannis Xenakis)

Sonic.Art Saxophonquartett

Genuin: GEN10164

Normally resistive to the saxophone, which tends to be overwhelming in smaller concert venues, this disc held our pleasurable attention throughout.

Ligeti's wind quintet Bagatelles are good as new in this arrangement which he personally approved. The rest of the pieces are originals for saxophone quartet. Tüür's lament for a sunken ferry - 850 killed, he should have been amongst the 1000 passengers - is suitably sombre. Neuwirth, Levy and Katz are beyond easy 'understanding', but their sounds are intriguing and the music played with a conviction which carries through to the listener; we enjoyed them all. Xenakis treats the quartet as a single instrument and is in a non-abrasive mood.

The group interview with Ingo Dorfmuller is illuminating; the quartet has distanced itself from saxophone teachers and taken lessons from string players, especially their guru Eberhard Feltz. They play string quartets on the saxophones but don't risk doing so in concerts "the classical music world is too set in its ways - you can create negative vibes".

But that has rubbed off in super-sensitive ensemble and a general decibel level far more restrained than feared. A fine disc, well worth exploring.

Peter Grahame Woolf