ADRIAN JONES: Nybyggnan – Concerto for Saxophone & String Quartet – Daniel Reid (soprano, tenor and baritone saxes); Jeanette Eriksson/ Sérgio Crisóstomo (violins)/ Adrian Jones (viola)/ Anna Wallgren (cello) – BIS multichannel SACD BIS-2119, 53:49 (10/9/15) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
Swedish folk-based music well played and nicely recorded.
A viola player himself, Adrian Jones constructed his six-part concerto Nybyggnan, a folk music saxophone concerto in chamber music format, using a set of newly-written tunes in a folk idiom imbued with elements from jazz, heavy rock and classical music. Written for chamber instruments, it also creates a bridge between the folk and chamber music world. Nybyggnan was composed for Daniel Reid, a saxophonist and a pioneer in Swedish folk music. He is one of the performers on this disc. Also heard are Mr. Reid’s own Rings on Water as well as Adrian Jones arrangement of the traditional Tingsmarschen (‘The District Court March’).
The 5.0 surround SACD is not a sonic spectacular, but the small ensemble sounds very realistic. Instruments are placed in a well-defined soundstage, while the rear channels are used for ambiance, although the recording venue is not identified.
Jones is an interesting composer. He’s deeply studied Swedish folk music, and the intersection between Swedish and American folk music. Virtually all of Jones’ compositions are folk-based.
Beyond his composing activities, Jones works regularly as a teacher at the Royal Collage of Music and at Bollnäs Folkhögskola where he’s also responsible for the folk music program.
Nybyggnan is an interesting work, certainly sounding like its Swedish roots. There are subtle interplays between instruments as the melody is handed back and forth to the performers. The disc also features a work by Daniel Reid, Rings on Water. It’s also composed in the folk idiom, but it also has a distinct classical sound in places.
The disc ends with The District Court March, which despite its title, has a melancholy sound. It’s a lovely piece, and a nice closer for the disc. I think discs like this are so important to expose us to music we would likely never hear on the radio or in a concert hall. It’s well-recorded and beautifully performed.
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