WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Differential Moods / Jeffrey Loeffert


Release Date: 04/08/2014 
Label:  Blue Griffin   Catalog #: 303   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Marc MellitsChristian LaubaElliott CarterBenjamin Fuhrman,   ... 
Performer:  Jeffrey LoeffertDavid DeesJohnny [Sax Soprano] SalinasKimberly Goddard Loeffert,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $22.98
CD:  $18.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



DIFFERENTIAL MOODS Jeffrey Loeffert, David Dees 1 , Geoffrey Deibel 2 , Kimberly Goddard Loeffert 3 , Jordan Luloff 4 , Joseph Luloff 5 , Jonathan Nichol 6 , Johnny Salinas (s-sax); 7 Mary Fukushima (fl); Read more class="SUPER12">8 Jun Okada (pn) 9 BLUE GRIFFIN 303 (71:23)


MELITS Farfalle Cotte. LAUBA 8 Exact Change. LAUBA Tadj. 1 Ars. THOMAS 6 Jeu d’Esprit. ROSSÉ Ariana. 8 Ximix. 5,6 East European Cubs. 2,7 Shanaï. SCHOENDORFF 9 Differential Moods. KARA?A Solo Flight. 4-6 Hoquetus Pocketus. CARTER 3,7 Canon for Three. FUHRMAN Prelude for Unspecified Instrument. RILEY Dorian Reeds


Now, this I like! A disc of slightly wacky, “out there” music, excellently played and well recorded. This music is primarily built around quick, syncopated passages played by the various reeds here, all of whom have excellent tones and techniques, but more importantly, it’s enjoyable music, well written, and played in an enjoyable manner. If I found, for instance, not much in the way of style of music to differentiate the Farfalle of Marc Mellits from the two pieces titled Exact Change by David Rakowski, I nevertheless found them fascinating and engaging. Both composers use percussive effects in the way the instruments are played, described in the booklet as “flute tongue pizzicato” combined with old-time slap-tongue techniques that were used way back in the 1920s by any number of sax “virtuosos” such as Rudy Wiedoft. Here, Loeffert is partnered by flautist Fukushima, and she is excellent.


Christian Lauba’s Tadj, based on the Eastern music of Tajikistan, is a perpetual motion of “off” harmonies and difficult technical figures, turning themselves into something akin to pretzel shapes in the ear. Loeffert really pushes the envelope of his technique here, but more importantly, he plays as if he is enjoying the music—always a prime requisite for listener enjoyment as well. The notes indicate that Lauba wanted to approximate the sound of “a primitive oboe,” hence the player must approach the music with that sound model in mind. Much more to the point, the music is interesting and original. Incidentally, if any readers know just how difficult the soprano sax is to play consistently in tune, you’ll really appreciate Loeffert’s virtuosity here. It is not merely excellent, but astounding. Fellow soprano saxist Dees joins Loeffert on Lauba’s Ars, another of the composer’s Neuf Etudes. Here, the music of “an imaginary period in the Middle Ages” covering four centuries’ worth of music is told in four minutes.


Augusta Read Thomas’s Jeu D’Esprit is a rather upbeat and virtuosic fanfare played by Loeffert with saxist Jonathan Nichol. It is not, perhaps, the best music on this disc, but still a fun piece, and it does not overstay its welcome. In the same vein, meaning light music that is interesting and engaging, are François Rossé’s Arianna (another slap-tongue piece) and the fanfare Ximix, built around the abutment of both consonant and dissonant intervals. Rossé’s pieces are really wacky! I loved them! Rossé’s Eastern European Cubs and Shanaï are, perhaps, a bit more conventional, though leaning towards the genre of “world music.” (Paul Winter, are you listening?) The liner notes indicate their similarity to music of instruments native to Morocco, India, and Turkey, such as the gaita, shanaï, and zourna.


The title piece of this disc, Differential Moods, was written by Matthew Shoendorff as a piece for oboe and piano meant to show the different moods available to that instrument. The composer reworked it after its premiere especially for Loeffert as a piece for soprano saxophone and piano (the pianist of that premiere was Jun Okada, who also plays it here). Although it is music of simplicity and elegance, using a very few musical gestures to indicate its initial theme and shape, it is music that goes somewhere. I was less happy, however, with the frequent references to rock music, but Shoendorff is wise enough to make these occasional and not the full extent of his composition. Rather, he veers back and forth between these moments and music of much greater imagination and creativity. (I almost laughed reading the comment in the liner notes that “the attentive listener may hear references [italics mine] to the rock and blues stylings of bands like Led Zeppelin.” These references practically hit you over the head. Well, in today’s world, I suppose that’s considered subtle!)


Igor Kara?a’s Solo Flight combines the solo soprano sax with electronics. Most of my readers know how I feel about electronics. These are really annoying because they are loud, off rhythm, and have no association with the interesting music in the foreground. It would be a better piece with the electronics turned off, thank you very much. It also goes on far too long (five and a half minutes). I much preferred the same composer’s Hoquetus Pocketus, a charming and humorous little bagatelle for four soprano saxes. The tongue-in-cheek mock-Latin title refers to the hocket style, i.e., one instrument plays one note, the second plays the second, etc., etc. in which the music is written. Although the musical material is not terribly varied, the timbral and rhythmic differences of the four players keep the listener on his or her toes, and being short it does not overdo things.


Elliott Carter’s Canon for Three , although atonal, is a fairly interesting piece that lacks Carter’s usual ugliness and bombast, while Benjamin Fuhrman’s Prelude for Unspecified Instruments, the notes say, was written “in response to a challenge from the composer Augusta Read Thomas to create a piece unlike anything [he] had previously written. To put it bluntly, one that was interesting.” (Yes, folks, that is actually in the liner notes!!!). The Prelude is based on “the use of two motives and their permutations,” but beyond that technical description it is quite interesting. The notes further say that because the piece is written with no indications of meter, it prevented “the natural tendency of the composer to fall into the trap of the time signature.”


Terry Riley’s Dorian Reeds ends this program. Although I’m not a fan of Minimalism, it should be noted that when Riley wrote this in 1965 he was inspired by the music of John Coltrane to explore means of improvisation on the soprano saxophone. Of course, what Coltrane played was far more interesting (and more creative), because what Riley does is lock himself into endlessly repeated patterns with occasional flourishes in the lead line (in other words, quintessential Minimalism). Why academic composers find this style of music rewarding and interesting, yet consistently ignore the far more creative work of Moondog, is beyond my powers of comprehension, except that poor Moondog was never an academic composer and they are! Nevertheless, Loeffert plays it very well (as usual), here multi-tracking himself to provide all the voices.


Overall, then, this is a fascinating disc. If you have a greater tolerance of rock-influenced classical music than I do, and/or appreciate Minimalism, you will certainly enjoy the whole disc, but even though I was less than captivated by the Schoendorff and Riley pieces I certainly enjoyed the disc as a whole and particularly the works of Mellits, Rakowski, Lauba, Thomas, and Rossé.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Farfalle Cotte, for 2 soprano saxophones by Marc Mellits
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
2.
Ars, for 2 saxophones by Christian Lauba
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert (), David Dees ()
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1992-1994 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
3.
Canon for 3 - In memoriam Igor Stravinsky by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Johnny [Sax Soprano] Salinas (), Kimberly Goddard Loeffert (), Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 1 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4.
Prelude for Unspecified Instrument by Benjamin Fuhrman
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
5.
Dorian Reeds, for soprano sax, harmonium & tape by Terry Riley
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1966 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 14 Minutes 19 Secs. 
6.
Exact Change, for flute & soprano saxophone by David Rakowski
Performer:  Mary Fukushima (Flute), Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 7 Minutes 18 Secs. 
7.
Tadj, for soprano saxophone by Christian Lauba
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 8 Minutes 27 Secs. 
8.
Jeu d'Esprit, for 2 soprano saxophones by Augusta Read Thomas
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert (), Jonathan Nichol ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 3 Minutes 32 Secs. 
9.
Arianna, for soprano sax by François Rossé
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
10.
Ximix, for 2 soprano saxophones by François Rossé
Performer:  Johnny [Sax Soprano] Salinas (), Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
11.
East European Cubs, for 3 soprano saxophones by François Rossé
Performer:  Joseph Lulloff (), Jeffrey Loeffert (), Jonathan Nichol ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 1 Minutes 50 Secs. 
12.
Shanaï, for 3 soprano saxophones by François Rossé
Performer:  Geoffrey Deibel (), Jeffrey Loeffert (), Johnny [Sax Soprano] Salinas ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 6 Minutes 18 Secs. 
13.
Differential Moods, for soprano saxophone & piano by Matthew Schoendorff
Performer:  Jun Okada (Piano), Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 8 Minutes 12 Secs. 
14.
Solo Flight, for soprano saxophone by Igor Karaca
Performer:  Jeffrey Loeffert ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
15.
Hoquetus Pocketus, for 4 soprano saxophones by Igor Karaca
Performer:  Joseph Lulloff (), Jeffrey Loeffert (), Jonathan Nichol ()
Period: Contemporary 
Date of Recording: 12/2012 
Venue:  Blue Griffin's Studio, The Ballroom 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title