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NPR: John Adams's Saxophone Concerto "A Gleaming Vehicle for Virtuoso Saxophonist Timothy McAllister"

  • Thursday, June 12, 2014
    NPR: John Adams's Saxophone Concerto "A Gleaming Vehicle for Virtuoso Saxophonist Timothy McAllister"

    John Adams's new album, recently released on Nonesuch Records, comprises the title piece, City Noir, and the debut recording of his Saxophone Concerto, both performed by the St. Louis Symphony led by Music Director David Robertson and featuring saxophonist Timothy McAllister. NPR Music's Thomas Huizenga takes a look at the enduring tradition of the concerto—"a 400-year-old recipe that still cooks"—including Adams's Saxophone Concerto, in a new piece on NPR's classical music blog, Deceptive Cadence.

    "As in centuries past, virtuosos still inspire, and in many cases commission, composers to write some of their best music, which can push an instrument to its creative limit," writes Huizenga. Indeed, Adams wrote his Saxophone Concerto for McAllister, whom the composer has described as “a fearless musician and risk taker” after the musician’s performance of what Adams calls a “fiendishly difficult” alto sax solo part in City Noir.

    The resulting work "is a gleaming vehicle for virtuoso saxophonist Timothy McAllister," says Huizenga. "He nails the fluent angularity and punchiness in the music with a lyrical touch somewhere comfortably between jazz and classical styles ... You can hear the influence of swing music, and the more frenetic pacing of great bebop sax men like Charlie Parker, over Adams' pulsating orchestra."

    Read more and hear an excerpt from the Nonesuch recording of the Saxophone Concerto at npr.org.

    To pick up a copy of the City Noir album with Saxophone Concerto, head to iTunes or the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete album at checkout; it is also available to purchase there as MP3s and FLAC lossless files.

    Timothy McAllister joins the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and Music Director Marin Alsop for the West Coast Premiere of Adams's Saxophone Concerto at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on August 9. For tickets, visit cabrillomusic.org.

nonesuch's picture
on June 12, 2014 - 1:49pm
Excerpt: 

John Adams's Saxophone Concerto, as heard on a new album with the title piece, City Noir, "is a gleaming vehicle for virtuoso saxophonist Timothy McAllister," says NPR's Thomas Huizenga. "He nails the fluent angularity and punchiness in the music with a lyrical touch somewhere comfortably between jazz and classical styles ... You can hear the influence of swing music, and the more frenetic pacing of great bebop sax men like Charlie Parker, over Adams' pulsating orchestra." McAllister gives the West Coast premiere of the piece at the Cabrillo Festival in August.

Copy: 

John Adams's new album, recently released on Nonesuch Records, comprises the title piece, City Noir, and the debut recording of his Saxophone Concerto, both performed by the St. Louis Symphony led by Music Director David Robertson and featuring saxophonist Timothy McAllister. NPR Music's Thomas Huizenga takes a look at the enduring tradition of the concerto—"a 400-year-old recipe that still cooks"—including Adams's Saxophone Concerto, in a new piece on NPR's classical music blog, Deceptive Cadence.

"As in centuries past, virtuosos still inspire, and in many cases commission, composers to write some of their best music, which can push an instrument to its creative limit," writes Huizenga. Indeed, Adams wrote his Saxophone Concerto for McAllister, whom the composer has described as “a fearless musician and risk taker” after the musician’s performance of what Adams calls a “fiendishly difficult” alto sax solo part in City Noir.

The resulting work "is a gleaming vehicle for virtuoso saxophonist Timothy McAllister," says Huizenga. "He nails the fluent angularity and punchiness in the music with a lyrical touch somewhere comfortably between jazz and classical styles ... You can hear the influence of swing music, and the more frenetic pacing of great bebop sax men like Charlie Parker, over Adams' pulsating orchestra."

Read more and hear an excerpt from the Nonesuch recording of the Saxophone Concerto at npr.org.

To pick up a copy of the City Noir album with Saxophone Concerto, head to iTunes or the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete album at checkout; it is also available to purchase there as MP3s and FLAC lossless files.

Timothy McAllister joins the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and Music Director Marin Alsop for the West Coast Premiere of Adams's Saxophone Concerto at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on August 9. For tickets, visit cabrillomusic.org.

Publish date: 
Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 11:00
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John Adams: "Saxophone Concerto"

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