Hailing from the low-lying Netherlands, the possibly soon-to-be-waterlogged (if you believe in global warming) Amstel Quartet is comprised of four saxophonists who, on this CD, puff out three perfectly pleasant tunes that trace a brief history of their chosen instrument. On the opening track, accompanied by a pianist, they time travel all the way back to 1898 to tackle French composer Gabriel Faure’s “Pelleas et Melisande, Suite, Op. 80.” This piece gently glides like a gull over a barren beach, then effortlessly floats over a pastoral panorama full of fluttering, whimsical butterflies. Jumping three decades ahead, the musicians explore Russian composer Alexander Glazunov’s 1932 piece “Saxophone Quartet Op. 109,”‘which is recognized as the first classic work for the sax quartet. This piece must have helped more than a few fervent fans flutter their way through the Great Depression. The best is saved for last as the group enters the modern age for an engagement with Phillip Glass’ 1995 work, “Saxophone Quartet,” in which repetitive melodies bounce off of each other in a spiffy reverie for a glorious sunrise. Word on the street is that if you pipe this kind of music into in a dangerous neighborhood, crime will decrease dramatically. So, crank it up and get super mellow with the thugs!
Text ©2010 Arcane Candy