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I’m a newbie here, but I thought I’d jump right in and open up a discussion, so here goes:

I’m currently working on an analytical essay about the Glazunov concerto.The basic idea behind it is that I am analysing about 3 or 4 recordings in terms of individual performance choices and interpretation, and relating this back to analysis of the score itself (well, the reduced score for sax and piano, since that’s all I have access to) and the original cultural context of the piece.

The four recordings that I managed to get my hands on are:

- the Theodore Kerkezos recording from Naxos
- the Sohre Rahbari recording, from same
- the John Harle recording from EMI
- and the Eugene Rousseau recording from Deustche Grammophon

I’m not quite sure whether or not I should use all four, or if I should drop one of them; I don’t know which one I’d leave out. I am also going to e-mail the players in the hope of gaining some insight into their thoughts on the piece – I’ll let you know how that goes!

So, what do you think influenced these performers in their interpretations of the piece? Do you think some of them are closer to the composer’s original intentions than others? I’d love to hear some opinions! Also, if anyone knows of any resources that might be useful for this, I would very much appreciate it.
 

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My suggestion: If you're wanting to find a good case in your essay for different interpretations, include the recording of this Concerto by Lawrence Gwozdz
 

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You might also want to check out Pekka Savijoki and Arno Bornkamp's recording of the Glazunov. Sounds like an interesting topic, maybe look back at each of the performers teachers and see how they were influenced by them, and if any of them possibly worked closer with Glazunov....

Sorry I'm not much help!

Alias sax
 

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Definitely grab Bornkamp and Gwozdz recordings of Glazunov -- two of the best. Disregard Rahbari.

Two more helpful items would be live unreleased recordings of Rascher (w/ orch) and Mule (w/ piano) that have been floating around.

There is also an LP with pops up on eBay rather often on which Lev Mikhailov (a Russian saxophonist) recorded the Glazunov with a Russian orchestra and Russian conductor.

Gary Louie has told me that he is going to record and release a CD of concertos with an orchestra in Russia. Glazunov will be on this disc, and I have to say that his performance with Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting the Baltimore Symphony was the most artistic Glazunov listening experience I have ever had.

Angel
 

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Talking different players' recordings/interpretation, Arno Bornkamp had some interesting (!!!) things to say about Harle's playing of this and other standard repertoire..!
 

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I actually find Harle's rendition to be the most interesting...because it's so different. He took out a few measures at the end if anyone's noticed. (If you didn't catch it, what are you listening to??). I don't like the recording techniques used because he sounds like he's playing in the farthest corner of the concert hall and way too much reverb.

Rahbari's isn't as bad as one would make you believe.

There are some things that Rousseau does that I don't understand/agree with. Besides, his intonation is quite questionable on it (actually, all over that album and in general). Some notes are so blatant that I really question what his ears are hearing.

Good luck on this topic.
 

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Speaking of this piece. If any if you are in Dresden, Germany on May 19th you should stop by and hear me perform the Glazunov with band accompaniment. Yes band accompaniment I say!
 

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Regarding Rousseau's recording, yes, the intonation is a bit off in many places. Why? Because it was in a 60 degree church with a baroque orchestra playing period instruments. Sometimes, you just have to make due, and Bravo to him for doing so!

I really enjoy Gwozdz myself, and also Bornkamp. These are my top picks for the work.

Steve P
 

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Steve P said:
Regarding Rousseau's recording, yes, the intonation is a bit off in many places. Why? Because it was in a 60 degree church with a baroque orchestra playing period instruments. Sometimes, you just have to make due, and Bravo to him for doing so!
Hmmm...

True or not, it's Rousseau's tendency--that's how he plays.

Assuming what you say is true, there is no excuse for being out of tune on held notes. Any note can be adjusted in pitch with air and embouchure given enough time. That low D towards the beginning in the Glazounov is so flat the entire time. He had at least four slow measures to get the pitch up. What happened?
 

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paulmac said:
Talking different players' recordings/interpretation, Arno Bornkamp had some interesting (!!!) things to say about Harle's playing of this and other standard repertoire..!
So, what did he say?
 

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A.Smith said:
I'm a big fan of the Arno recording. Maybe throw in the Fourmeau one too, for something different to the others mentioned.
Completely forgot about this great recording. Fourmeau is one of the best.

Angel
 

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Well, that is what ER told me in a lesson. Additionally, due to cost and time constraints, you cant always go back and record something again. Time is of the essence. Is it out of tune? Yes. Is it out of tune for a long time? Yes. Could it be fixed? Yes. But, raising a low D is tricky business, and raising it in the middle of a long held passage like that is even harder to do tastefully. In that situation, I'm not sure what I would have done. I may have just held it out of tune honestly. Changing it after establishing its pitch center may be more noticable than just leaving it along.

To get back on topic, sort of, we are all indebt to Rousseau for making that first LP of all saxophone concertos. He plaved the way, and I for one will always look to that recording when searching for some very fine playing of our best works. His Dubois Mvt 1 Cadenza is one of my favorite moments in my entire saxophone recording library!!

PS- Fourmeau is also excellent. How did we -both- miss that one, Angel!?

Steve P
 

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Steve P said:
His Dubois Mvt 1 Cadenza is one of my favorite moments in my entire saxophone recording library!!
One of my favorite moments as well (and while packing up my CD's this weekend I counted over 150 classical saxophone CD's in my library). Rousseau is absolutely tasteful and musical, on that whole piece actually. :)
 

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Steve P said:
Fourmeau is also excellent. How did we -both- miss that one, Angel!?
I'm getting old. You have no excuse.

;)

Angel
 

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Dannel said:
Speaking of this piece. If any if you are in Dresden, Germany on May 19th you should stop by and hear me perform the Glazunov with band accompaniment. Yes band accompaniment I say!
That's cool Dannel..Who did the arrangement?

9 years ago, a high school private student of mine won the West Point Band concerto competition on the Glazounov. He subsequently got to solo with the West Point Band on an arrangement written for Woodwind Choir. It is really nice! I believe the arrangement was done by Gary McCourry (the bari player at the time with the group). It included parts for contra bass clarinet and contrabassoon. I have a recording of my student playing it if anyone is interested in hearing this.

Steve

ps very often they will allow arrangements to be borrowed. So if you're interested in performing it in this setting, let me know, I might be able to put you in touch with the Band's librarian.
 

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I believe the arrangement was done by Joseph Kreines. The band is reading handwritten parts, and they're pretty hard to read.... so it must be his handwriting!

I think it's a pretty good arrangement, but it's still a little band-heavy at times...... and for some reason bands aren't as flexible as orchestras :/
 
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