“Fireworks of Music” – Celebrating the New Year in Hanover [TrackList follows] – Jackson Crawford, sax/ Ulfert Smidt, pipe organ – Rondeau Productions ROP6089, 58:36 (9/29/14) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
The Empire Brass already did an album with the “Fireworks” title, so don’t confuse this with that one (which we reviewed here). This one is a live New Year’s Eve concert in 2013 at the Marktkirche in Hanover, Germany, with two internationally-known performers. Their program encompasses both work for sax and organ as well as a few organ solos, and there’s not a selection by Handel—these 16 tracks cover mostly 20th-century composers, although there is a Schumann work.
I personally always have thought the duo of classical saxophone and pipe organ to be an excellent one. There are both albums of jazz-based such material as well as classical ones like this. Both are always good. The performers have selected works full of fun rhythms and bright colors – the title of ‘Fireworks’ fits very well. The tracks of organ only are terrific as well, especially the performance of the scintillating (and often-used in churches for the postlude) Toccata from Widor’s Fifth Organ Symphony. The sax also gets a solo selection in the variations on “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” It is also nice to hear the rarely-heard works such as the five movements from Dubois’ suite, the Borowski Adoration, and the “Waltz No. 2” by Shostakovich. The short “Abendlied” by Schumann is a bit surprising in the program, but this transcription from his vocal music fits in quite well.
Sonics are excellent for a standard compact disc.
Waltz Number 2 (Shostakovich); Sel. from Rumanian Weihnachtslieder Sz57 (Bartok); Adoration (Felix Borowski); Vocalise Number 14 (Rachmaninoff); Theme and Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je Maman” (Jackson Crawford); Symphony Number 5 in F minor: Adagio & Toccata (Widor); Dix Figures a Danser: Number 4 Bransle / Number 5 Pavane / Number 6 Passepied / Number 7 Complainte / Number 8 Rigaudon (Dubois); Zwolf Klavierstucke for kleine und grosse Kinder: Abendlied (Schumann); Trois melodies Op. 7: Apres un Reve (Faure); Pomp and Circumstance Op. 39: Military March (Elgar); The Holy City (Stephen Adams)