One does not often come across a disc such as this, wholly dedicated to saxophone works by classical composers. Indeed all the names are celebrated musicians who have etched their imprint on 20th century music history (perhaps with the exception of Glazunov), but writing for the saxophone was certainly not why, so this issue is all the more welcome.
The programme includes some very famous pieces such as Milhaud's "Scaramouche" Suite and "La Creation du Monde" together with other lesser performed works in the form of Villa-Lôbos' "Fantasia" and Ibert's "Concertino". The "Rhapsodie" by Debussy is the most enigmatic composition of the lot, while Glazunov's delightful concerto has managed to hold a discreet foothold in the repertoire.
The spirit of the instrument permeates all these pieces in a truly attractive way, and the jazzy idiom gives them that pungent touch which is so essential for this very special sound world. Mario Manzi ozzes out some beautiful worlds of sound, and although Schellenberger keeps a measured hold on proceedings, he always allows the soloist to display his virtuosic abilities to the full. Outstanding notes and the superb 5.1 multichannel sound are also high points of this marvelous SACD.
Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech