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Dragon Rhyme - Music for wind ensemble by Jennifer Higdon, Kurt Weill and Chen Yi / Carrle Koffman, soprano sax; Anton Miller, violin

Album Summary

>Higdon, Jennifer : Soprano Saxophone Concerto
>Weill, Kurt : Concerto for Violin & wind orchestra, Op. 12
>Yi, Chen : Dragon Rhyme, for ensemble
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The wind band offers considerable variety and color to composers, as demonstrated by these three disparate works. Jennifer Higdon's Soprano Saxophone Concerto brings to the instrument an unerring warmth and sizzling dexterity perfectly suited to its plangent beauty. Kurt Weill's 1924 Violin Concerto exudes neoclassicism, Mahlerian influence and a pungent dynamism that account for its popularity. Chen Yi's Dragon Rhyme employs musical intervals familiar from Beijing Opera, in a work rich in textual color and vivid intensity.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Lincoln Theater, University of Hartford Campus, USA.



Reviews

Another terrific wind ensemble recording you should hear!
All credit to Naxos for reaching outside the "box" and bringing not just ample new American music but strong, exciting wind ensembles to our attention as well. This time it is the Hartt School Wind Ensemble under the direction of Glen Adsit that deserves the attention! The Hartt School is the performing arts college of the University of Hartford. The group is truly top notch, having completed several guest tours as well as a 2010 appearance at Carnegie Hall. This album showcases their skills, performing three very impressive modern master works, quite nicely!
The music is the other "star" of this album. Jennifer Higdon's "Soprano Saxophone Concerto" is actually a 2006 arrangement of her Oboe Concerto. As Higdon points out, the saxophone is capable of very beautiful and expressive playing; perhaps most that of the soprano saxophone. This piece is a compact and flowing gem. While there are moments of propulsive energy and technical flourish, it really is long line melody that carries the work. Soloist Carrie Koffman is a wonderful player who brings out the absolute best in her instrument and it seems like Higdon wrote this music for saxophone in the first place, it translates so well. I had not heard Kurt Weill's "Violin Concerto" (for violin and wind band) in a long time and it is refreshing to hear what a quirky but attractive it really is. Written in standard three movement form, the Concerto certainly shows the influence of Berg and Stravinsky but critics have said that it shows melodic influence from Busoni as well (that is a bit obscure though) This is a wonderful, entertaining and frequently beautiful work, played here extremely well by violinist Anton Miller. I think this recording makes an ideal introduction to the piece, if needed. "Dragon Rhyme" by Chen Yi is a very exciting two movement work based on melodic intervals and uses of percussion as found in Beijing Opera. Chen is one of today's most versatile and exciting composers whose music bridges the sounds and sensitivities of both her native China and American audiences. The title imagery of a dragon is intended to evoke boldness and strength. This piece is certainly that and a wonderful addition to the wind ensemble repertoire! This CD is quite eclectic in its program but the performances are wonderful as are the works themselves! Highly recommended!
Submitted on 10/08/12 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Higdon, Jennifer : Soprano Saxophone Concerto
  • Performer: Carrie Koffman
  • Conductor: Glen Adsit
  • Ensemble: Hartt School Wind Ensemble
  • Notes: Lincoln Theater, University of Hartford Campus, USA (05/05/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2006

>Weill, Kurt : Concerto for Violin & wind orchestra, Op. 12
  • Performer: Anton Miller (Violin)
  • Conductor: Glen Adsit
  • Ensemble: Hartt School Wind Ensemble
  • Notes: Lincoln Theater, University of Hartford Campus, USA (12/14/2010-12/15/2010)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 04/1924-05/1924

>Yi, Chen : Dragon Rhyme, for ensemble
  • Conductor: Glen Adsit
  • Ensemble: Hartt School Wind Ensemble
  • Notes: Lincoln Theater, University of Hartford Campus, USA (05/27/2010-05/28/2010)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2010