CROSSFADES is a crossroad of sounds, styles and different languages that blend in the same discourse going beyond genre barriers: a magic kaleidoscope of frequencies from our time. The saxophone is the ultimate hybrid instrument. Its nature and history up to the present day make it the perfect vehicle to get through these intersections of experiences and researches. Its voice, so ductile and recognisable at the same time, connects composers and musicians of various backgrounds, with a common love for the instrument and for his power to connect distant worlds.
Notes by Elise Hall Saxophone Quartet
How to define “crossover”? Maybe it’s just feeling free to go towards music that talks to us and resonates within ourselves; exploring music without limits, by means of composers and performers we love, who can be placed somewhere between jazz, classical music and contemporary research.
Notes by Philippe Geiss
The saxophone, angular and irriverent, here in Crossfades is the “teenage criminal carelessly carrying a knife and rigorously wearing a leather jacket”, as Stravinsky once described it. After a suspicious start, with a head-count before we leave, the rhythm, with its frantic pulse, becomes the absolute protagonist. It’s a seductive and exciting music journey where intricate sound textures intertwine in delicate balance, and the contributions of two fantastic soloists, Ada Rovatti and Silvio Zalambani, stand out enriching the discourse with solid but never obvious arguments. To sum up, a journey we want to start again after we listen to it.
Notes by Mario Marzi
Elise Hall Saxophone Quartet Since 2006, the Elise Hall Saxophone Quartet, has been working enriching saxophone compositions. With a focus on crossover repertoire, the quartet chooses compositions from XX and XXI century which combine different musical genres, in collaboration with composers who are influenced by the sounds of contemporary music. The musicians have had collaborations with important Italian orchestras and theatres, such as Filarmonica del Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. The ensemble has been awarded the first price in several national and international music competitions and has performed in important festivals, such as XIV Stage Internazionale del Sassofono in Fermo, Atlante Sonoro XXI in Rome, Certosa in Musica in Ferrara, Mito Fringe in Milan, Musica in Castello in Parma, Festival Como Città della Musica, Biennale di Venezia. Since 2012, the artists have worked with the famous composer Michael Nyman, who invited them to perform with him during his Italian tours and he has also dedicated a specific composition to the quartet. The members of the Elise Hall Saxophone Quartet are BG France artists. www.elisehallsaxophonequartet.com
Barry Cockcroft (b.1972) is regarded as one of Australia's finest saxophonists and his innovative compositions are performed throughout the world. He studied in Australia with Dr. Peter Clinch and in Bordeaux, France, with saxophonists Jacques Net, Marie-Bernadette Charrier and Jean-Marie Londeix. He has completed long-term residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada and received regular support from the Australia Council for the Arts. He has over 140 published works, available from Reed Music. He has acted as a repertoire consultant on Australian music and is a member of the International Saxophone Committee, supporting the triennial World Saxophone Congress. Barry Cockcroft has written several pedagogical books that continue to guide the development of thousands of young Australian musicians every year. Captivating, quirkily humorous and technically demanding, Cockcroft's compositions have seen successful adoption into mainstream saxophone literature. His music successfully integrates contemporary saxophone techniques into well-known genres, structures and rhythms. The combination of familiar sounds with new ideas has allowed audiences worldwide to enjoy and understand his music. His close association with over 100 composers has led to the publication of more than 1,000 new works over the past 16 years.
Michael Nyman (b London, 23 March 1944). English composer. He studied composition with Alan Bush at the RAM (1961–4) and musicology with Dart at King's College, London (1964–7). He also spent time collecting folk music in Romania (1965–6). After showing early promise as a composer, he fell silent for almost a decade, during which he worked variously as an editor, librettist and performer, and as a music critic for The Spectator, The Listener and the New Statesman. It was in The Spectator in 1968 that he first applied the description ‘minimal’ to music, though the claim that he introduced the term to music criticism has been disputed (see Strickland, 241–4). Nyman's earliest work, dating from the mid-1970s, shows the influence of John Cage's aesthetics and the techniques of experimental and minimalist music, both of which he had charted in his book Experimental Music (London, 1974). For instance, the multiple piano piece 1–100 (1976) employs a series of 100 chords, descending gradually across the range of each piano part in a circle-of-fourths motion, to control both the note-to-note details and the overall form. Durations meanwhile are indeterminate, the performers proceeding through the music at their own pace. Like many musicians associated with the English experimental movement, Nyman found himself teaching in fine art rather than music departments, holding posts (from the late 1960s) at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham University and Goldsmith's College, London. These liberating creative environments led him towards a tactile and intuitive approach to sound and timbre. Pre-existing materials form the basis of much of his early music, including In Re Don Giovanni (1977) and his first film scores for the director Peter Greenaway. While his use of quotation suggests parallels with the early work of Bryars and Christopher Hobbs, the techniques of layering, stratifying, reordering and superimposing that Nyman uses to transform his material more closely resemble those of film and popular music production. Also during this period he began to develop with an ensemble of his own the vibrant and uncompromising sound world of the ‘street band’ he had employed for the National Theatre's production of Goldoni's Il Campiello (1976). The Michael Nyman Band fused the abrasive, amplified timbres and motoric rhythms of rock with the string and brass writing of the classical tradition. For more than a decade, it provided Nyman with plenty of scope for timbral variety, dynamic flexibility and textural contrast, from the forthright articulation and rhythmic propulsion of the score for Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) to the gentle, understated textures of the chamber opera The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat (1986). Increasingly during the 1990s, however, Nyman sought ways in which to incorporate this sound into an extended orchestral context, or even, for instance in the Trombone Concerto (1995), to dispense with it altogether. Whereas Nyman's compositions during the 1980s referred explicitly to the works of past composers, the works of the following decade were marked by a concern with self-quotation, in particular the reworking of materials drawn from film scores or other dramatic contexts into independent, large-scale concert pieces. The score for Prospero's Books (1990), itself partly derived from La traversée de Paris (1989), proved particularly fertile in this respect: it gave rise not only to a suite (1994), but also to Ariel Songs (1990–91), Masque Arias (1991) and parts of Noises, Sounds and Sweet Airs (1994), otherwise based largely on La princesse de Milan (1989). The 1990s also saw a significant change in Nyman's style: a move towards a more intimate expressivity characterized by sustained and resonant textures, and a broader approach to melodic writing. Early examples are found in the more reflective moments of Prospero's Books (1990) and the subtle shifts of mood and emphasis in the Six Celan Songs (1990). Allied with this lyricism was an increasing gravitation towards folk music. In the String Quartet no.3 (1990) Nyman drew on the Romanian sources he had studied in the 1960s, while in the score for Jane Campion's The Piano (1992) a series of traditional Scottish melodies is subjected to melodic, rhythmic and harmonic transformations. Though Nyman draws on his knowledge and experience of American minimalism, distinctive elements of his musical language set it apart from those influences. He has spoken of his more ‘intuitive’ approach to process, in which ‘the ear rather than the process is the initial and final arbiter’ (1977, p.7). Moreover, the prominence of the bass in his music, as well as suggesting the influence of rock, creates a harmonic stability and rootedness more characteristic of the European tonal tradition than of American minimalism. It is this often curious confluence of classical harmonic functions and rock rhythms and textures that provides Nyman's music with a rich and effective fusion of the codes of ‘high’ and popular art.
Salvatore Sciarrino (b Palermo, 4 April 1947). Italian composer. A precociously gifted child, he at first gravitated towards the visual arts: he displayed a talent for figurative painting by the age of four and by the age of ten was guiding himself towards ‘informal’ abstraction. But he found himself increasingly fascinated and challenged by music and so began experimenting with composition in 1959 under the guidance of Antonino Titone. Within three years he had achieved a first public performance at the 1962 Palermo New Music Week. A brief academic training under Turi Belfiore in 1964 provided the only interruption to this autodidactic progress, crowned by public performances in Rome (Quartetto II) and Palermo (Aka Aka to) in 1968. In 1969 he moved to Rome, where he continued to pursue his own path under the aegis of Franco Evangelisti whose course on electronic music at the Accademia di S Cecilia he attended. He quickly developed one of the most distinctive (and widely imitated) voices of his generation, making an obsessive, but impeccably calculated language from sound resources marginalized by previous generations such as string and wind harmonics and ancillary performance noises. At first these were deployed in baroque abundance – and to striking critical acclaim in his first theatre work, Amore e Psyche (1972). But during the 1970s, Sciarrino became increasingly concerned to pare down his resources to a characteristic play between sound and silence that has underpinned much of his subsequent work. This was explored extensively in the daring Un'immagine di Arpocrite (1974–9), a 45-minute adagio for piano, orchestra and chorus.