Saxophonist Keith Bohm played a recital at Crocker Art Museum today with pianist John Cozza. I found the selected repertoire extremely entertaining. A few comments.
Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1959) by Lawson Lunde (b.1935)This American composer has written for children's shows. This piece is in three movements and is very tonal.
Night Bird (1996) by Karen Tanaka (b. 1961)This Japanese composer has brought us a piece in one movement for recorded synthesizer and live saxophone. The synthesized part sounds very dark and forbidding. It didn't say "bird" to me, but I still enjoyed it.
Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (1965-70) by Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)This Argentine composer was the only one that I had heard of. To summarize this is the four seasons of Buenos Aires in the form of a tango for saxophone and piano. Fun and exciting. It will not make you think of Vivaldi.
Improvisation 1 pour Saxophone Alto seul (1972) by Ryo Noda (b. 1948)This is also a Japanese composer who has written an improvisation for solo saxophone. They put up the lid on the piano for this. Keith explained this at some length. It involves various kinds of technical tricks such as different types of tonguing. At the end Keith turns and plays into the piano, and we notice that John is holding down the sustain pedal. I know improvisation was popular for a while, but I don't know if it still is.
Rumba (1949) by Maurice C Whitney (1909-1985)We are informed that rumba is one of the mainstays of saxophone literature. The piano is back for this piece of South American rhythm by an American composer.
The variety of styles on display was attention grabbing. My favorite was probably the tango four seasons. The recital isn't dead.