Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Other
DINOVA PIANISM CHARMS SATED AUDIENCE AT J-B MARIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Symphony
SHOSTAKOVICH 5TH A TRIUMPH FOR SSU ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Recital
ASSERTIVE PIANISM IN YAKUSHEV'S OCCIDENTAL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Symphony
SPARKLING PONCHIELLI AND IMPOSING SCHUMAN AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Chamber
CONTRASTS GALORE AT THE VIANO'S CONCERT AT THE 222
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 11, 2022
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STOMPS ALONG TO MARSALIS VIOLIN CONCERTO
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Choral and Vocal
TRAVELS WITH SEBASTIAN IN SONOMA BACH'S OPENER IN SCHROEDER
by Pamela Hicks Gailey
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Symphony
ORCHESTRAL SPLENDOR IN MARIN SYMPHONY'S SEASON OPENER
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Choral and Vocal
CANTIAMO BLOOMS AT CHURCH OF THE ROSES
by Pamela Hicks Galley
Sunday, October 9, 2022
Chamber
DRAMATIC SHOSTAKOVICH SONATA HIGHLIGHTS BOSCO-GABRIELSON CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, October 9, 2022
CHAMBER REVIEW
Andrew Harrison, Saxophone; Jason Lo, Piano / Thursday, September 22, 2022

Saxophonist Andrew Harrison

SAXOPHONE VIRTUOSITY IN SCHROEDER HALL RECITAL

by Nick Xenelis
Thursday, September 22, 2022

“Acclaimed for his unique approach, virtuosic performances, and as a champion for both new and forgotten works, Indian-American Saxophonist Andrew Harrison has captured the hearts of audiences while introducing the world to important new instrumental voices.”

These words could have expressed the delight of hearing a heartfelt, technically inspiring and energized performance Sept. 22 in Schroeder Hall, when Mr. Harrison and pianist Jason Lo performed a recital that spotlighted the tonal beauty of alto and soprano saxophones. Often when one sees the word saxophone, it implies a blues, jazzy, pop tune tonal quality. Mr. Harrison imbued both instruments with colors and an extended emotional range foreign to jazz or blues.

The entire program was of Romantic style save for the Robert Muczynski’s two-movement Sonata for Alto Saxophone, Op. 29, that closed the first half. The opening Andante’s contemporary harmonies were played with slower tempos that required deft technical control of the instrument’s ability to play loudly and at times with a whispering tone. Impressive music in just under eight minutes.

Arturo Marquez’ elegant Danzon No. 6 was played with a sweet/passionate balance, its flowing themes and giving way to tango references. It was expressive playing across all the instrument’s registers.

Grant Still’s Romance followed, a work commissioned by Sigurd Rascher, an early proponent of classical saxophone. Mr. Harrison’s interpretation began with a fetching Andante and moved to a moderate tempo, using the classical saxophone style of narrower and faster vibrato, unlike jazzy styles of wide and slow vibrato. His register and range made a connection with string instrument sound. The Romance rang as a Stephan Foster style of folksy and home spun melodic qualities. There were faint bell sounds. This music is a stark contrast to Stills’ Afro Symphony which has a direct quoting of blues and perhaps the sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz.

Following intermission, the evening’s piece de resistance was Rachmaninov’s G Minor Cello Sonata, transcribed for saxophone by Ferran Gorrea i Muñoz. Mr. Lo handled well the large pianistic hand stretches of Rachmaninoff’s writing, and the alto sax seemed a worthy replacement of the cello. In the opening lento-Allegro Mr. Harrison’s beautiful sub tone subito entrance made the audience sit up an extra inch as he wove the melody from a legato pianissimo to mezzo forte levels. Even in extreme altissimo registers, Mr. Harrison’s instrumental control and flexibility never faltered.

A brisk tempo and rapid tonguing characterized the virtuosic 6/8 Scherzo, and the playing in the famous third movement’s soaring vocalize was chaste and captivating, the sweeping long phrases referencing the composer’s second Symphony. The finale (Allegro mosso) was performed in a symphonic manner, staying very much in the Rachmaninoff style of rich grandeur, and surely was a summation of the previous movements.

Both musicians played from score, using the now common iPad electronic sheet music.