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Die Kunst der Fuge › New Danish Saxophone Quartet
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New Danish Saxophone Quartet

Kontrapunkt, 1997, Denmark.; recorded 1996/97
Menu: printed score without Choral, the mirror fugue and one canon
Total Time: 74:12
A classical recording on modern insruments.

Like the first violin in a string quartet, the soprano sax is mostly leading with a distinguished cor-anglais-like timbre, followed by the alto; both with a tender vibrato here and there. In the four-part fugues the two deeper instruments mostly fill the space behind the higher ones with a smooth background tone, without exposing their parts. Only in the canons they show their soloist qualities, and they do very well. A gem: though wrongly indicated as Cp.a 4 voci, it is the Canon alla Decima - the soprano climbs up to klezmer reminiscences. Cp. 8 + 11, often loaded with tragic aspects, - here they come along with a smile and an invitation for dance.

Solid, skilful chamber playing; without any spectacular summits, the whole recording is carried by an audibly intelligent decency; never boring, always tasty. Even the well-dosed diminuendo at the end of some movements demands respect to a gesture that always sounds somehow “classical”.

It’s a pity that two movements have not been included; the slim booklet does not tell us why.

Recommendation: in any sense; satisfies concentrated listening as well as a company for cooking, manual working or making love.

(March 2002)