Variations & Cadenzas: Contemporary Masterworks for Saxophone


  • Artist(s): Giuseppe Bruno, Valentina Renesto
  • Composer: Edoardo Dinelli, Giuseppe Bruno, Oliviero Lacagnina, Peter Fribbins, Peter Seabourne, Roberto Scarcella Perino, Robin Holloway, Sergio Chierici
  • EAN Code: 7.93611610422
  • Edition: Da Vinci Classics
  • Format: 1 Cd
  • Genre: Chamber
  • Instrumentation: Piano, Saxophone
  • Period: Contemporary
SKU: C00174 Category:

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Roberto Scarcella Perino’s music has been commissioned, performed, and recorded by excellent ensembles and soloists throughout Europe and The United States, including the Orchestra Arturo Toscanini, the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, Giuseppe Bruno and the Exclusive Saxophone Quartet. He is a Senior Lecturer at the NYU Italian Department and a Scholar in Residence at the American Institute for Verdi Studies. He studied with the Slovenian pianist Sonja Pahor to whom he dedicated his first Piano Sonata. He studied composition at Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Azio Corghi, in Milan and in Parma at Accademia Petrassi.

Pavane is a work in a traditional ternary form, both thematically and dynamically. Following in the footsteps of Fauré and Ravel, Roberto decided to compose a melody with the pace of a slow solemn dance. As it usually happens, the sax and the piano behave as the solo voice and the accompanist, though their places are frequently swapped. The language is tonal, but the harmonies are not trivial: there is always something leading us to understand that the composer is playing with a past he affectionately loves, but of whose death he is acutely aware.

Peter Seabourne grew up in a large farmhouse with his grandmother. Somehow this fostered a childhood passion for composing. He won a place in 1980 to Cambridge to read Music, studying with Robin Holloway. In 1983 he moved to York University, taking a doctorate in composition. However, he became increasingly dissatisfied with his work, and grew to hate much in the new music world. This led to him to abandon writing for some twelve years. In 2001 a chance set of circumstances caused a sudden reawakening; a new voice simply “arrived”, along with a flood of new pieces. Seabourne’s language stands apart from much in contemporary writing, for which he retains a large measure of distrust. It is overtly communicative, emotionally powerful, often lyrical and always rhythmically inventive, yet shuns thin “accessibility”.

The Garden in the Brain is Seabourne’s second song cycle using words of the visionary American poet Emily Dickinson. Written in 2003 it shares with its predecessor, September Just Septembers, themes of loss and of nature in delicate, transient states. Within my Garden, rides a Bird sees a bird warbling away in a carefree manner, You see I cannot see – your lifetime poignantly meditates upon the transience of our human relationships and interactions; What if I say I shall not wait! is an impetuous proclamation of love; The Perfect Look captures a brief moment of transfiguration; A Dying Tiger relates the poet’s inner feelings at a moment of deep tragedy; Two Butterflies flit briefly into view and then off over the sea; Good Morning – Midnight is a girl’s melancholy, regretful meditation on her choice of Day over Night. These songs have formed the starting points for a number of instrumental pieces, their material expanded along the lines of Schubert’s Trout or Death and the Maiden. Here, however, Valentina Renesto and Giuseppe Bruno simply create “songs without words”, with the alto saxophone taking the soprano vocal line.

Robin Holloway sang as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral and studied composition with Alexander Goehr as a teenager. He was a lecturer in music at Cambridge University for 32 years between 1975 and 2011, teaching a generation of composers including Judith Weir and Thomas Adés. His earliest works from the 1960s show a modernist stance, culminating in the much acclaimed Second Concerto for Orchestra (1979), but a parallel track had already been exploring a radical liaison with Romanticism and tonality, including Scenes from Schumann (1969-70) and the opera Clarissa (1976) premiered in 1990 at English National Opera under the baton of Oliver Knussen. Holloway’s music has been recorded on the NMC, Hyperion and Chandos labels. Robin Holloway’s music is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes. (reproduction kindly permitted by Boosey & Hawkes)

“Many years ago, in 1979, a friend gave me a selection of 10 Jarchas, miniature poems in old Spanish heavily tinged with Islamic culture, expressions of passionate erotic longing & loss, very beautiful & intense: she hoped I would find music for them, and I did. Four years later, in 1982, I worked these miniatures up into a longer continuity as a Suite for saxophone solo, added to it a bit later, finalized it in 1991 for the alto instrument. There are 3 movements: I alternate fast with slow, ending with plangent cries that eventually sink down exhausted. II is simpler, a calm flowing song, with a more agitated middle-section. III is again longer & various: a lilting idea marked “anxious & tender”; more continuous melodies follow; then another cry of desperate yearning; then a snatch of angry allegro molto: these all continue to alternate & grow till an fff possible climax: a quiet end, marked “casual”, rounds off a piece that remains absolutely vocal, though its originating words are of course not now present.”

Giuseppe Bruno’ s Variazioni e Cadenze is easily described by its title, in fact the piece alternates contrapuntal episodes with more rhapsodic gestures. Composed in 2015 for Valentina Renesto, it features both alto and soprano saxes, using all the extension and colour palette of the two instruments. Although the musical language is undoubtedly reminiscent of Schönberg and Dallapiccola, saxophone and piano blend variously together to produce different expressive situations, in a mostly pensive mood.

Peter Fribbins was born in England, studying composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and with Hans Werner Henze in London and Italy. Many of his works have literary or extra-musical themes, and his music is widely performed and broadcast internationally. Several critically acclaimed CDs dedicated to his music include the orchestral works Capriccio, a Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto, and Soliloquies for Trumpet and Strings. Peter Fribbins is also Professor of Music at Middlesex University and Artistic Director of the celebrated London Chamber Music Society concerts, resident at Kings Place, London.

“I have always liked the idea of the ‘Bagatelle’, short unpretentious pieces for an instrument, and think particularly of Beethoven’s wonderful set for solo piano and Finzi’s for clarinet. My ‘Bagatelles’, for saxophone and piano, try to explore some of the melodic and expressive possibilities of the soprano sax. Canzonetta features a gentle melody over a piano texture, perhaps a little like one of the Lieder ohne Worte by Felix Mendelssohn. The Arioso second movement has a more flowing melody, but slightly slower and in 6/4 time. A brief recitative-like interlude for solo sax follows and serves as a short prelude to the final movement, which casts a melody over a guitar-like accompaniment figure in the piano. My Bagatelles are dedicated to Valentina Renesto.”

When Edoardo Dinelli is 5 and sits in front of a piano it’s love at first sight. As he grows up the game turns into passion and then into obsession. He starts studing seriously with professor Nadia Puccinelli and soon he gets a Piano Degree at “Rinaldo Franci” musical Institute in Siena. Meanwhile, since his music needings get stronger and stronger, he begins studing as a composer with Fabrizio Papi and Pietro Rigacci and that’s it! Later on he specializes in Film and Video scoring with important composers such as Manuel De sica, Franco Mannino and Luis Bacalov at Scuola Nazionale di Cinema in Rome. Finally, according to his real and intimate passion, he gets a Master Degree in Music and New Technologies at Conservatorio L. Cherubini in Florence with Professor Alfonso Belfiore, so that he strongly pushes his own creativity towards multimedia and Computer Music.

Stream was born a long time ago, in an embryonic form, and has remained incomplete for a long time. In 2018, it is completed in this final version. The succession of 5 melodies plus a melody “0” performed by the saxophone represent a continuous “stream”, hence the title. Every melody is a picture that describes a vision, now sweet and dreamy, now aggressive and powerful.

Oliviero Lacagnina is a music composer, arranger and conductor from Liguria. In 1979 he got his diploma as choir-director in Genoa. He also studied piano under Martha del Vecchio in Genoa and orchestra conducting under Bruno Campanella at the Academy of Music in Florence. His compositions were performed in several European and non-European countries among which Brazil, New Zealand, Japan; Slovenia, Russia, Romania, Italy. His compositions, arrangements and direction of the orchestra are featured on LP and CD Sony Music, Phonogram, Warner, RAI Trade, Arts, Kicco Classic, Mellow Records, Arc – Music, Magma Records, Bongiovanni, Akarma Records, Aereostella, Black Widow.

Steps is a work without experimental elements or a quest for particular timbral solutions. The only element shared by the piece’s three sections is certainly rhythm, whereby soloist and piano often interact in a kind of a dialogue. It is a rarefied rhythm in certain sections, a more sustained one in others, with allusions to minimal music; it requires a careful coordination of the players when the beat layers meet. Years of experience in the field of music written for contemporary dance have left clear traces also in Steps. The soloist’s evolutions (which I define as “sound clouds”) in the initial section, juxtaposed to singing moments, or to still others (as in the finale), with an almost jazz-like accentuation, all of these belong to a musical vision bound to images and to stage movements.

Sergio Chierici, who has obtained many Conservatory diplomas and has a master’s degree in Literature, has specialized in several fields of early and modern theory and practice. A prize-winner at international competitions, he is presently a composer, a concert musician, a conductor of choirs and of vocal and instrumental ensembles. He is the author of books, essays and articles on subjects relating to the history of music, and he founded the journal Organi Liguri. He recorded CDs for several labels and participated in TV and radio broadcasts, both playing his own works (which are published and performed worldwide) and early, classical and contemporary music.

Provectus (prōvectŭs, male noun, fourth declination): the act of advancing, progressing, promotion, profit, evolution. Our starting point: a slow and progressive path in quest of True Love. Provectus represents its essence, but also its development. The sound events are two: the sampled track is the imperturbable flow of a fragment of time and of being; the acoustic and expressive saxophone tune is the interior way: initial amazement, entangled experience, reassuring understanding and ecstasy.


Giuseppe Bruno (1961) studied in Florence and Milan, graduating with honours in Piano, Composition and Conducting . Performing for several years as a pianist in many different chamber ensembles and as a brilliant soloist, Bruno has played with important orchestras in Europe and US, in a repertoire that extends from Mozart to contemporary music. He has collaborated with conductors including Alkis Baltas, Spiros Argiris, Roberto Abbado, Pasquale Valerio, Sam McClure, violinists Sashko Gawriloff, Pavel Vernikov, Lenuta Ciulei, singers Gail Gilmore, Victor von Halem, Monica Benvenuti, pianists Paolo Valcepina and Vincenzo Maxia and with the Octet of the Berlin Philharmonic. From 1987 to 1992 Bruno participated in the “Festival of Two Worlds” in Spoleto, Italy, and Charleston, South Carolina. Maestro Bruno was a prize winner at the International Piano Contest in Rome in 1991 and also in 1992 at the “Viotti” competition in Vercelli, Italy, in a duo with violinist Alberto Bologni. He has recorded for Nuova Fonit Cetra, Diapason, SAM, Bongiovanni, Ars publica, Sheva, Ars musici, OnClassical, as well as for many European broadcasters. Bruno is also a respected conductor and composer (his Prelude and fugue for violin has been recorded by Alberto Bologni for Sheva Contemporary) who recently dared to complete Schubert’s “Reliquie” Piano Sonata. He teaches at Puccini Conservatoire, La Spezia, and is Visiting Professor at Rubinstein Academy, Düsseldorf.

Valentina Renesto began her Saxophone studies at the Conservatory of Parma with Massimo Ferraguti, pursuing at the Conservatory of La Spezia, where she graduated with honors. Subsequently she has earned two Master Degrees in Saxophone, in education and performance, the latter “cum laude” and a Master Degree in Artistic Direction and Music Management at Conservatorio “Boccherini” in Lucca and Pisa University. She's currently professor of saxophone at La Spezia Liceo Musicale “V. Cardarelli”. She has attended masterclasses with Maestri M. Ferraguti, J.Y. Formeau, M. Marzi, A. Tavernini, F. Moretti, G. Scarlatti, M. Falaschi. She also held Masterclasses at prestigious institutions, including the Rubinstein Academy (Düsseldorf), Academy of Szczecin, Poland, for the International Saxophone Festival (where she is an effective member of the "Impression Ensemble"), Truman State University (Missouri). In 2010 she began her activity with "ExclusIVe Saxophone Quartet" (Soprano Sax), obtaining immediate positive professional feedback. The quartet has been invited in festivals and concert seasons in Italy and abroad and has recorded a CD for Sheva. For the same label, Valentina recorded a CD dedicated to Richard Strauss with soprano Monica Benvenuti and pianist Giuseppe Bruno. Valentina Renesto is also active in duo with piano and as a soloist with orchestra (Radom Philharmonic Orchestra, Lomza Philharmonic Orchestra, Akademia Zmienia and Filharmonia Szczecinie Szczecin - Poland, City Orchestra of Grosseto, "Brindisi Classica", Truman University Missouri, New York University). In May 2017 she made her debut in China, playing works by Italian, English, Polish and Chinese composers at the prestigious ASEAN China Musica Festival.