RELIEF (2007)

RELIEF (2007)

for tenor saxophone and ensemble

solo: saxt
ensemble: eh, cor, tr, trbn-tb, vla, vc
duration: 6 min
première: February 3, 2007, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany
Ensemble for new music at the HfM Karlsruhe
Marcus Weiss – tenor saxophone
Conducted by Gérard Buquet

RELIEF (2007)

for flute and ensemble

solo: fl
ensemble: cl, cor, tr, trbn-tb, vla, vc
duration: 6 min
première: March 21, 2014, HfMDK Frankfurt am Main, Germany
International Ensemble Modern Academy

RELIEF

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RELIEF

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RELIEF

(full recording)

February 3, 2007, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany (première)
Ensemble for new music at the HfM Karlsruhe
Marcus Weiss – tenor saxophone, Conducted by Gérard Buquet

ABOUT

RELIEF is a virtuosic work for ensemble, a semi-concertant piece in which the saxophone (versions also exist for flute and clarinet) plays the dual role of soloist and ensemble member. It opens with staccato chords in irregular rhythms played by the entire ensemble. The different qualities of these chords are brought about as much by the changing registration as the changing notes (for example, the trumpet may be the uppermost instrument in one chord, but below violin, saxophone and French horn in the next). Only gradually do the instruments take on independent roles, with the soloist continuing the irregular rhythms of the opening, while other instruments accompany with a mixture of sustained notes, glissandi and staccato figures. The extended first section culminates in a torrent of legato cascades in the ensemble, over which the soloist hovers with sustained notes in its highest register.

There follows a lull, in which the ensemble restricts itself to pointillistic interjections by individual instruments, while the soloist engages in a subterranean yet frenzied cadenza of key clicks, only intermittently bursting above the surface with the instrument’s normal timbre. Presently, even these die away, and all that remains is a collection of disparate gestures in a static and slightly unnerving texture that Žuraj was to employ in the ensemble work Reflections, composed shortly after. This lull is brought to an abrupt halt by a return to the tutti chords from the opening, this time in a massive sostenuto, rather than the delicate staccato of the opening.

The work’s final section centres around an expressive cadenza for the soloist, accompanied in the manner of a recitative, after which the RELIEF quickly dies down to an understated conclusion.

Alwyn Tomas Westbrooke

RELIEF is a virtuosic work for ensemble, a semi-concertant piece in which the saxophone (versions also exist for flute and clarinet) plays the dual role of soloist and ensemble member. It opens with staccato chords in irregular rhythms played by the entire ensemble. The different qualities of these chords are brought about as much by the changing registration as the changing notes (for example, the trumpet may be the uppermost instrument in one chord, but below violin, saxophone and French horn in the next). Only gradually do the instruments take on independent roles, with the soloist continuing the irregular rhythms of the opening, while other instruments accompany with a mixture of sustained notes, glissandi and staccato figures. The extended first section culminates in a torrent of legato cascades in the ensemble, over which the soloist hovers with sustained notes in its highest register.

There follows a lull, in which the ensemble restricts itself to pointillistic interjections by individual instruments, while the soloist engages in a subterranean yet frenzied cadenza of key clicks, only intermittently bursting above the surface with the instrument’s normal timbre. Presently, even these die away, and all that remains is a collection of disparate gestures in a static and slightly unnerving texture that Žuraj was to employ in the ensemble work Reflections, composed shortly after. This lull is brought to an abrupt halt by a return to the tutti chords from the opening, this time in a massive sostenuto, rather than the delicate staccato of the opening.

The work’s final section centres around an expressive cadenza for the soloist, accompanied in the manner of a recitative, after which the RELIEF quickly dies down to an understated conclusion.

Alwyn Tomas Westbrooke

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