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In Memory / Kenneth Tse


Release Date: 05/10/2011 
Label:  Enharmonic Records   Catalog #: 014  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachJoseph CanteloubeAlfred ReedKarel Husa,   ... 
Performer:  Kenneth TseKari MillerMami NagaiMariko Hattori,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IN MEMORY Kenneth Tse (sax); Hayashida Kazuyuki (ssax 4 ); Yoshiyuki Hattori (tsax 4 ); Kari Miller 1 , Mami Nagai 2 , Mariko Hattori 3,4 (pn) ENHARMONIC 14 (64:53) Live: Tokyo 6/1999 3,4


BACH Read more 1 Sonata in E, BWV 1035. CANTELOUBE 2 Chants d’Auvergne: La Pastoura als camps; Baïlèro; Trois bourrées. REED 2 Ballade. HUSA 3 Élégie et rondeau. BOZZA 2 Aria. NAULAIS 2 Frissons. BARBER 4 Souvenirs


The Kenneth Tse-designed cover art for this CD immediately draws one’s attention to the faded image of a lovely woman in a flowered dress, wistfully looking into the distance. Only then does one note the saxophone to the right, the name of the artist, and the title of the CD: In Memory . On the back is another photograph of the woman; younger, smiling broadly, and holding a round-faced toddler. The notes inside begin, “This recording is dedicated to my dear mother, Ivy, who passed away of cancer in 1999 at the age of 48.”


In Memory was the third CD produced by Tse, recorded between 1996 and 2000. It is being reviewed now as part of a feature overview of David Canfield’s Enharmonic label. It is rather different from Tse’s many other CDs. Unlike the perfectly played and presented, often high-energy recitals on Crystal and RIAX, this is offered in a manner a bit informal and unmistakably genuine in its heartfelt tribute. Listening to it is rather like eavesdropping on private grief, and it seems almost heartless to assess such a release critically.


Happily, the program is as accomplished as it is sincere. Included is an appealing selection of melodic, often plaintive works chosen for their beauty and quietude. Tse plays with great refinement and variety of tone, and with a sensitivity of phrasing that is magnificent. The Bach flute sonata is all elegance and long line, played on a soprano saxophone with a slightly reedy quality that suggests a Baroque oboe. The arrangements of the Canteloube songs by Ito Yasuhide capture much of the Arcadian spirit of the originals, though the composer’s exquisite orchestral colors are of necessity sacrificed. The decision to assign both solo and accompaniment lines to the alto saxophone is a bit jarring at first to one who knows the songs well, but Tse’s intoning of those lines is most evocative. Alfred Reed’s easygoing Ballade showcases Tse’s ability to sell a tune by imparting a lightly bluesy feel, while the more rigorous Élégie et rondeau , written by Karel Husa as a tribute to Sigurd Rascher, shows Tse’s lyrical mastery of a modern—though hardly edgy—score. The virtuoso rondeau is particularly satisfying. The lovely Bozza Aria, yet another of the staples of the saxophone repertoire, is given a delicate and understated outing, the tone honed down to almost a thread at times. It contrasts nicely with Jérôme Naulais’ Frissons , the technical demands of which Tse surmounts with deceptive ease. The shivers of the title are all in the virtuosic playing and shimmering tone. Too bad about the “church basement” piano, on which I’ll comment later. The program ends with an arrangement for saxophone trio and piano by Shono Hirohisa of Samuel Barber’s Souvenirs ballet. It works surprisingly well in the hands of Tse’s fine ensemble, the often tongue-in-cheek take on the six turn-of-the-19th-century dances realized to perfection.


If one must note faults, they would be in the recorded sound of most of the selections and in the tuning and clangorous tone of the piano used in the May 2000 session(s). The engineering of all but the Bach sonata sounds ad hoc; only the Bach is on a par with Tse’s many Crystal recordings. The unfortunate piano is most concerning in the Bozza and the Naulais, but neither the sound nor the piano is close to a deal-breaker, and neither could prevent me from giving this heartwarming tribute CD a well-deserved recommendation.


FANFARE: Ronald E. Grames
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo in E major, BWV 1035 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone), Kari Miller (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1717-1720; ?Cöthen, Germany 
2. Ballade for Saxophone and Piano by Alfred Reed
Performer:  Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone), Mami Nagai (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956 
3. Chants d'Auvergne: Volume 1 by Joseph Canteloube
Performer:  Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone), Mami Nagai (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923-1930; France 
4. Elegie et Rondeau by Karel Husa
Performer:  Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone), Mariko Hattori (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960 
5. Souvenirs, Op. 28 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Hayashida Kazuyuki (Soprano Saxophone), Mariko Hattori (Piano), Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone),
Yoshiyuki Hattori (Tenor Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
6. Aria for Alto Saxophone by Eugène Bozza
Performer:  Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone), Mami Nagai (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1936; France 
7. Frissons by Jérôme Naulais
Performer:  Kenneth Tse (Alto Saxophone), Mami Nagai (Piano)

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