The Art of Fugue (2004)

Bach

New Century Saxophone Quartet

When discussing the possibility of recording J.S. Bach’s "Die Kunst der Fuge" (The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080) with those in and outside the classical music world, the question of playing this great masterwork on saxophones invariably arises early in the conversation! After all, the saxophone was not even invented until nearly 100 years after Bach’s death. However, there are two interesting points which should allay any concerns as to the appropriateness of the music of Bach to the saxophone. First, Bach, who was known to be a man of precision regarding instrumentation and other musical issues, did not indicate any instrumentation for "The Art of Fugue." Neither did his son C.P.E. Bach, to whom he dictated this, his final work. Second, the saxophone quartet is the only modern chamber ensemble designed as a true consort. The entire family, from sopranino to contrabass was conceived by its maker, Adolphe Sax, as an extension of a single acoustic design, uniform and complementary throughout the range. Thus the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones represent a pure consort, more consistent in tone color from top to bottom than the brass or woodwind quintet, and even the string quartet.

It was in fact a member of one of the world’s most well known string quartets who convinced NCSQ to look at this music, leading eventually to this recording. In 1994 the New Century Saxophone Quartet and the Julliard String Quartet performed in Los Angeles’ Ambassador Auditorium on consecutive nights. In a backstage conversation, the Juilliard’s cellist, Joel Krosnick, suggested that New Century explore "The Art of Fugue," feeling it might be a good match for the sonority of a saxophone quartet. This was not the first time the quartet had heard this. Five years earlier, in 1989, Philip Dunigan, the well known flutist and teacherat the North Carolina School of the Arts, had also encouraged the quartet to play "The Art of Fugue," however it took the advice of a second great musician, Krosnick, to get the Quartet to overcome it’s natural hesitation to take on this challenge.

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New Century Saxophone Quartet

The New Century Saxophone Quartet is a pioneering and versatile group winning new-found enthusiasm for its diverse repertory of innovative contemporary works and imaginative adaptations comprising an extraordinary range of musical styles. The only ensemble of its kind to win First Prize of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the quartet is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and in its home state from the North Carolina Arts Council. New Century has been heard in major concert venues and on radio and television throughout the Americas and Europe; in recordings for the Channel Classics label; and in unusual performance settings including two Command Performances for President Clinton at the White House, an appearance with the United States Navy Band, and a Chinese New Year broadcast seen by a television audience of over 300 million worldwide. Peter Schickele’s Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra is among the ensemble’s numerous and widely-performed commissions and premieres, which also include works from Saturday Night Live bandleader Lenny Pickett, Bob Mintzer, Ben Johnston, David Ott, and Sherwood Shaffer. 7

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The Art of Fugue (2004)

Bach

New Century Saxophone Quartet

    Audiophile Audition

one of the best saxophone quartets .... a fascinating musical experience and a fascinating listening experience. Audiophile Audition

    International Record Review

sounds as wonderful as ever when played on four saxophones () () this is no ordinary recording but a devotedly virtuoso traversal of some of the most mind-bogglingly ingenious and inspired examples of counterpoint ever committed to manuscript.() International Record Review

    Amazon.com

Bach never heard a saxophone, but the clarity, virtuosity, and restrained expressively of this performance would probably have pleased him greatly. (...) Amazon.com

    The Independent -

couldn't be better

    HiFi

superb transcription () () the clarity, the shape and colouring of the phrases, the way individual players inter-relate and the warm, luminous sound () () extraordinarily moving effect. The Independent () Het vileine kakarter van de stukjes komt prima tot zijn recht en ook de virtuoze passages worden briljant gespeeld () Hifi

The Art of Fugue (2004)

Bach

New Century Saxophone Quartet

Cables:Van den Hul
Digital Converters:DCS DSD AD/DA
Mastering Engineer:Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment:B+W 803 diamond series
Microphones:Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board:Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer:Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer:Jared Sacks
Recording location:Doopsgezinde Kerk Deventer Holland
Recording Software:Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate:DSD64
Speakers:Audio Lab

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20204: The Art of Fugue
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Tracks
1.
Contrapunctus 1
Bach
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2.
Contrapunctus 2
Bach
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3.
Contrapunctus 3
Bach
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4.
Contrapunctus 4
Bach
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5.
Contrapunctus 5
Bach
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6.
Contrapunctus 13 - Canon All Duodecima In Contrapunto Alla Quinta
Bach
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Contrapunctus 14 - Canon All Cecima. Contrapunto Alla Terza
Bach
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8.
Contrapunctus 7
Bach
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9.
Contrapunctus 8
Bach
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10.
Contrapunctus 10
Bach
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11.
Contrapunctus 6
Bach
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12.
Contrapunctus 9
Bach
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13.
Contrapunctus 11
Bach
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Contrapunctus 15 - Canon Per Augmenmtationem In Contrario Motu
Bach
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Contrapunctus 12 - Canon Ala Ottava
Bach
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16.
Contrapunctus 16 - Rectus
Bach
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17.
Contrapunctus 16 - Inversus
Bach
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18.
Contrapunctus 19 - Unfinished
Bach
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19.
Choral - Wenn Wir In Hochsten Sein
Bach
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