Adams, John: City Noir / Saxophone Concerto (Nonesuch Audio CD)

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Catalogue No: 541356
Shop Product Code: 2664898
City Noir / Saxophone Concerto (Nonesuch Audio CD)

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Department: CDs - Save up to 15% - Classical CDs: Orchestral

Publisher: Nonesuch

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Timothy McAllister, alto saxophone / St. Louis Symphony / David Robertson, conductor

City Noir “is a symphony inspired by the peculiar ambience and mood of Los Angeles ‘noir’ films, especially those produced in the late ’40s and early ’50,” says Adams in his notes on the piece. “My music is an homage not necessarily to the film music of that period but rather to the overall aesthetic of the era.” Following The Dharma at Big Sur and El Dorado, City Noir “becomes the third in a triptych of orchestral works that have as their theme the California experience, its landscape and its culture,” explains the composer.

Adams’ Saxophone Concerto was composed for McAllister, whom the composer described as “a fearless musician and risk taker” after the musician’s performance of what Adams calls a “fiendishly difficult” alto sax solo part in City Noir. The composer explains, also in his notes, that he grew up “hearing the sound of the saxophone virtually every day—my father had played alto in swing bands during the 1930s and our family record collection was well stocked with albums by the great jazz masters—I never considered the saxophone an alien instrument.”

Adams continues, “While the concerto is not meant to sound jazzy per se, its jazz influences lie only slightly below the surface.” The Australian noted of its world premiere performance that “in the relentless, bebop-like figurations—stunningly executed—it recalled the frenetic solos of Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane.” This is the first recording of the work.

Contents and Reviews


1. City Noir: I. The City and Its Double 2. City Noir: II. The Song Is for You 3. City Noir: III. Boulevard Night 4. Saxophone Concerto: I. Animato 5. Saxophone Concerto: I. (cont'd) Moderato – Tranquillo, suave 6. Saxophone Concerto: II. Molto vivo (a hard driving pulse)