Featuring Saxcess Quartet:
Debbie Rawson | soprano saxophone
Peter Liley | alto saxophone
Reuben Chin | tenor saxophone
Tim Workman | baritone saxophone
1–3. Trio No. 1
4–6. Trio No. 3
7. Peace for Julie
8–9. Two Pieces for Saxophone Quartet
10–14. Partita for Alto Saxophone
15–17. Trio No. 2 for Saxophones
18–22. Partita for Baritone Saxophone
23–25. Trio No. 4 for Saxophones
26–28. Suite for Saxophone Quartet
29–33. Partita for Soprano Saxophone
34. Swing Five for Saxophone Quartet
WINDPOWER from composer Eric Biddington highlights the versatility of the saxophone through the proficiency and musicality of the players, the Saxcess Quartet, in a collection of 11 original works. With multiple orchestrations and movements spanning 34 tracks, Biddington’s compositions are on full display with works for solo saxophone as well as sax trio and quartet.
The individual instruments blend in various orchestrations throughout but are also given their own spotlight with dedicated solo compositions. The four partitas featured on this album are multi-movement solo works that highlight the distinct sounds and characteristics of their respective registers and the dexterity of each player.
As a standalone solo composition, Peace For Julie is written in remembrance of Dr. Julie Leibrich, former commissioner of the New Zealand Mental Health Commission, researcher, author, poet, and friend of Biddington’s. This tender and emotional work is performed by soprano saxophonist Debbie Rawson.
While each voicing is featured on its own, the sounds band together throughout the album with four works by Biddington for saxophone trio, and three for saxophone quartet. Distinguishable by their varying orchestrations, each trio contains three movements and takes advantage of the many combinations available with four voices to choose from.
Two Pieces for Saxophone Quartet is a two-movement work consisting of a lush serenade and an energetic scherzo. Suite For Saxophone Quartet follows this theme, this time with a third movement capping the piece with a whirlwind of flighty licks for an exciting finale. Lastly, Swing Five for Saxophone Quartet is certainly indicative of its title. The piece is written in 5/4, with four saxophones layering in between each measure to amplify the rhythmic motifs that embody and propel this odd meter composition. Though written in a classical context, the piece makes use of the swing feel popularized in jazz, adding a fresh approach to classical composition while paying homage to the genre that brought saxophone into the limelight. Swing Five’s title was suggested by James Langabeer, leader of the Auckland Saxophone Quartet, the group for whom the piece was originally written.
2021 Navona Records