On the album Mozaik, saxophone player Niels Bijl brings us Classical and Jazz compositions arranged for the Sax. He’s accompanied on the album by Hans-Erik Dijkstra (Piano), Maaike Bosscher (Harp) and Rob Horsting (Organ).
Since Guido of Arrezzo laid the basis for musical notation in the 11th Century, music aficionados have challenged each other with the question: Who is the best composer of all time? Although the answer is normally someone like Bach, Mozart or Schönberg, the composer Shane Fage has offered the most original answer: The writer Charles Dickens.
“Your first job is that of the story teller. Owing to the power of Dickens’ language, one could see the room, smell the stale cigar in the ashtray, feel the warmth of the fire, everything……. And that is why Dickens is the best composer I have ever heard.”
Telling stories as the basis for music. An art form from long before Guido of Arrezzo, and one that is effective in all genres. The story behind El Cant dels Ocells (Song of the Birds) is the birth of Christ, until the legendary cellist Pau Casals transformed it into the epitome of the Catalonian soul, “The birds in this piece sing “Peace, Peace, Peace!” And the music is a music that Bach and Beethoven and all the greats would have loved and admired. It is so beautiful, and it is also the soul of my country, Catalonia.” If you compare Schubert’s Adagio, Fauré’s Nocturne and the fourth Prelude of Scriabin with the ancient traditional Catalonian folksong, it is apparent that both Fage and Casals are right. For centuries the craftmanship of composers has been defined by the ability to base music on a simple but very effective melody.
Total time: 00:52:58
DPA 4006, Neumann
|Original Recording Format|
Music School Doetinchem, The Netherlands
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|Release Date||August 19, 2016|
“The indefatigable Niels Bijl adopted the sax at the age of 12 years, and currently plays the instrument for many European orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw and Anima Eterna, as well as working with chamber ensembles and jazz groups. Pianist Hans-Erik Dijkstra is Bijl’s partner on this disc. He is also responsible for most of the transcriptions of the music of this “Mosaic” program.
Bijl’s premise for his choice of items is that the oldest and most compelling element of music is a good tune. Invented in 1841 to fill out the tone between orchestral winds and brass, the tenor sax in particular has become a fine melodic instrument in many genres.
Jos Boerland’s exemplary DSD recording presents an intimate listening environment from within the Music School, Doetinchem. A gentle ambience is present, particularly in surround mode, allowing the piano and sax to develop their full timbres, yet there are no distracting clacking keys from the sax, and only gentle breaths heard from Bijl.
The Aliud label is notable for its exploration of musical by-ways, and this program is certainly eclectic, but ultimately very attractive. Saxophonists will be inspired by some unusual repertoire. If you have a spare hour or so, give this disc a spin too!
5 Star Rating for Performance, Stereo & Surround Sound quality.”
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