- Martin Robertson (Saxophone)
Notes & Reviews:
Tony Banks, founder member of rock band Genesis, has already written a much admired orchestral work called Seven (8.557466), which was praised for its 'genuine melodic gift' (Gramophone). His new work consists of six songs without words which may evoke in the listener ideas of seduction, journey, hero, quest, decision and goal. Two of the pieces feature solo instruments - alto saxophone on Siren and violin on Blade - played here by elite soloists, which mesh into Banks's orchestral tapestry with bewitching effect. The remaining pieces reveal his outstanding lyrical gifts and total command of musical narrative. Throughout 2009 Charlie Siem's reputation as one of the brightest new classical artists grew with prestigious concerts in Paris, London, Oslo, Bergen and Basel. He has since enjoyed a very successful career, appearing with major orchestras and at festivals around the world. Martin Robertson began his solo career in 1986, and has since performed as a soloist with the Berlin, Los Angeles and London Philharmonic Orchestras, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
BBC Music Magazine
Ex-Genesis member Tony Banks in classical mode, each of the six pieces majoring on rhapsodic feeling and bold melodies. Blade, featuring the solo violin of Charlie Siem, is the most impressive.
American Record Guide, September / October 2012
Tony Banks is the founder of the rock band Genesis and a new convert to classical music as well. This is crossover, a hybrid of pop music gestures, film music harmonies, and effective 19th Century retro symphonic writing. This is his second recording for Naxos. These six symphonic songs are full of openhearted melody and glamorous orchestration, predictable and not very innovative but very easy to take. Particularly pleasing is The Oracle, a serene bit of tunefulness that has harmonies, harps, and woodwind writing that sound a bit like early Delius.
The orchestra has a big, brassy sound, with lush strings for the soupier lyrical moments - and there are plenty of those. Martin Robertson's alto sax solos in Siren and Charlie Siem's violin in Blade are smooth and stylish.
Recording information: Smécky Music Studios, Prague, Czech Republic (03/13/2011-03/17/2011).
Submitted on 05/01/12 by Dan Coombs
From the opening, I glanced up at my TV to ensure I wasn't actually dialed into a movie I'd left in the Blu-Ray player. A quick check of inputs showed I was indeed dialed into the analog outputs of my SACD player. Such is the sweeping cinematic feel of this disc. In part, this would owe to the orchestration work of Paul Englishby, who translated these works from the original piano compositions. An accomplished composer and orchestrator himself, Englishby utilizes a broad palette in realizing Banks' works in concert with the City of Prague Philharmonic. Any expectation of Banks' complex but familiar modalities should be suspended, as these works are rooted in an altogether different yet equally well thought set of ideas.
Liner notes have Banks describing the pieces a "seductress, journey, hero, quest, decision and goal". Subsequent listening sessions after reading the notes were illuminated by these themes, but they are by no means necessary to evoke visual imaginings of the music - these are present throughout.
The two pieces featuring soloists Charlie Siem on violin and Martin Robertson on alto saxophone are interesting in maintaining the broad orchestral appeal while serving the soloist. In service to both soloists, the shorter length of each work allows a balance of melody and accompaniment throughout that would ebb and flow far more in longer pieces.
For those fans of film composers, from the contemporary such as Danny Elfman, to the more classic works of Maurice Jarre, Tony Banks Six would be a surprising adventure. Those those who come to these works by other means, they are nonetheless compelling musical vignettes.
Submitted on 05/28/12 by Timothy Nolan
Ernst Bloch: America; Concerto Grosso No. 1 / Patricia Michaelian, piano
Robert Fuchs: Serenades Nos. 3, 4 and 5 / Cologne CO, Ludwig
Janacek: Taras Bulba; Lachian & Moravian Dances / Warsaw PO - Wit
Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Symphony No. 6; Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes
String Fever: It Don't Mean a Thing *
It Don't Mean a Thing / String Fever - Marin Alsop
Deborah Drattell: Sorrow is not Melancholy / Goff, Shifrin, Schwarz
Bernstein: Arias and Barcarolles; Barber: Overture to The School for Scandal; Diamond: Elegy / Schwarz
William Bolcom: Complete Gospel Preludes / Gregory Hand, organ
Johan Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 / Melina Mandozzi, violin; Ilze Klava, viola
Works DetailsBanks, Tony : Pieces (6) for orchestra
- Performer: Martin Robertson (Saxophone)
- Conductor: Paul Englishby
- Ensemble: City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
- Notes: Smécky Music Studios, Prague, Czech Republic (03/13/2011-03/17/2011)
- Running Time: 51 min. 2 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary