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Quatuor Habanera - Mysterious Morning

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Mysterious Morning

Quatuor Habanera

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This Alpha Productions release, Mysterious Morning, is the first full-length disc by the Quatuor Habanera, a French saxophone quartet founded in 1993 and dedicated to the exploration of the ever-expanding universe of music being created for this instrumental combination. The main event for many listeners will be the inclusion of a late Iannis Xenakis work, Xas (1987). Booklet note-writer Alain Poirer describes Xenakis' music as "harsh and severe," yet Xas' surprising moments of sweetness are what the listener takes note of; the sections aptly described by Poirer's words will come as no shock to ears attuned to the sound of free jazz groups. György Ligeti's popular and oft recorded Bagatelles (6) are presented in a saxophone quartet adaptation made in 1997 by Guillaume Bourgogne with the approval of the composer and recorded here for the first time. The tone of the saxophone enhances the bright, folksy, and popular aspects of this early Ligeti piece. The best thing on the disc, though, is young Japanese composer Fuminori Tanada's Mysterious Morning II, which dives into the realm of saxophone ensemble sonority feet first, producing many startling effects that can only be made by these instruments. Mysterious Morning II also has the benefit of being a mysterious, atmospheric, and vaguely spiritual piece without being new agey. Franco Donatoni's Rasch, originally written for the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, starts out sounding like a broken-down old squeeze box and dissolves into a flurry of Berg-like flittering. It does not make much of an impression, but Donatoni's mirror-image retrograde version of it with some added percussion, Rasch II, does. It is just that in reverse order for some reason the form of the piece is more convincing -- go figure. Outside of referencing the Dies Irae several times, Sofiya Gubaidulina's In Erwartung is so sparse it seems hardly there, and it didn't do a thing for the listener. To want Mysterious Morning one must take a fancy to saxophone groups and contemporary music, a rather specialized combination of tastes. For those who qualify, this is a solid effort by Quatuor Habanera and, despite some less than interesting music, it does make one want to hear more by this group.
© TiVo

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Mysterious Morning

Quatuor Habanera

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Six Bagatelles (Various Composers)

1
I. Alegro con spirito
00:01:12

Gyorgy Ligeti, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

2
II. Rubato. Lamentoso
00:02:57

Gyorgy Ligeti, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

3
III. Allegro grazioso
00:02:28

Gyorgy Ligeti, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

4
IV. Presto ruvido
00:00:54

Gyorgy Ligeti, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

5
V. Adagio. Mesto (Béla Bartok in memoriam)
00:02:33

Gyorgy Ligeti, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

6
VI. Molto vivace. Capriccioso
00:01:24

Gyorgy Ligeti, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

Mysterious Morning (Various Composers)

7
IV: 1er mouvement
00:03:56

Fuminori Tanada, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

8
IV: 2ème mouvement
00:05:09

Fuminori Tanada, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

9
Rasch
00:05:26

Franco Donatoni, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

10
XAS
00:08:44

Iannis Xenakis, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

11
Rash II
00:11:09

Franco Donatoni, Composer - Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

12
In Erwartung
00:14:18

Quatuor Habanera, MainArtist - Sofia Goubaïdoulina, Composer

2000 Alpha 2000 Alpha

Album Description

This Alpha Productions release, Mysterious Morning, is the first full-length disc by the Quatuor Habanera, a French saxophone quartet founded in 1993 and dedicated to the exploration of the ever-expanding universe of music being created for this instrumental combination. The main event for many listeners will be the inclusion of a late Iannis Xenakis work, Xas (1987). Booklet note-writer Alain Poirer describes Xenakis' music as "harsh and severe," yet Xas' surprising moments of sweetness are what the listener takes note of; the sections aptly described by Poirer's words will come as no shock to ears attuned to the sound of free jazz groups. György Ligeti's popular and oft recorded Bagatelles (6) are presented in a saxophone quartet adaptation made in 1997 by Guillaume Bourgogne with the approval of the composer and recorded here for the first time. The tone of the saxophone enhances the bright, folksy, and popular aspects of this early Ligeti piece. The best thing on the disc, though, is young Japanese composer Fuminori Tanada's Mysterious Morning II, which dives into the realm of saxophone ensemble sonority feet first, producing many startling effects that can only be made by these instruments. Mysterious Morning II also has the benefit of being a mysterious, atmospheric, and vaguely spiritual piece without being new agey. Franco Donatoni's Rasch, originally written for the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, starts out sounding like a broken-down old squeeze box and dissolves into a flurry of Berg-like flittering. It does not make much of an impression, but Donatoni's mirror-image retrograde version of it with some added percussion, Rasch II, does. It is just that in reverse order for some reason the form of the piece is more convincing -- go figure. Outside of referencing the Dies Irae several times, Sofiya Gubaidulina's In Erwartung is so sparse it seems hardly there, and it didn't do a thing for the listener. To want Mysterious Morning one must take a fancy to saxophone groups and contemporary music, a rather specialized combination of tastes. For those who qualify, this is a solid effort by Quatuor Habanera and, despite some less than interesting music, it does make one want to hear more by this group.
© TiVo

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