Lament on the Death of Music

Lament on the Death of Music

Yell it from the hilltops, NEW MUSIC IS DEAD!
Leila Lustig
Chan Ka Nin
Andrew Stiller
Anita D. Perry
Amherst Saxophone Quartet
Catalog Number: 
new classical

Buffalo, NY

Release Date: 
Jan 1, 1998
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Several common threads are woven throughout the fabric of this, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet's fifth recording: All the compositions were written in the last few years and take on the question of what 'classical music' is (or may be) at the end of the 20th century. All were composed for the ASQ or submitted as entries in its International Saxophone Quartet Composition Competition. 

Leila Lustig read an editorial in The New York Times suggesting that Western music might be dead. Being a composer, she felt the only sensible response to this 'news' was to write an oxymoronic lament on the death of music. 

Chan Ka Nin's music may be said to embody a classical harmonic aesthetic, but this does not mean that it speaks the 'harmonic language' of, say, Mozart. Chan is interested in the harmony of human beings attaining unanimity of purpose and friendship: both necessary ingredients in the playing of chamber music. In this respect, his quartet can be considered 'classical' in Eastern as well as Western senses. 

Anita Perry's Quartet is deliberately neoclassical. 

Finally, Andrew Stiller's Chamber Symphony adheres strictly to forms common in Haydn's and Beethoven's day to comment on both the classical style and the music of today.  

Each composition makes use of bent or altered pitch. Lustig calls for the saxophones to groan in a quasi-blues style. Chan has individual saxophones sliding pitches up and down in a subtle and magical way that is quite distinct from the jazz vernacular. Perry uses pitch in a burlesque manner, taking her Scherzo literally. Stiller calls for extensive use of quarter-tones. Since saxophones, like most other instruments, are not built to play quarter-tones, a new and intricate fingering system had to be devised. Humor is never far away on this recording. Finally, these four works are unusual among the several hundred in the ASQ's repertory in calling for a human voice. Lustig's piece is scored for four saxophones and soprano. Chan asks for a chanted note of contentment from three of the quartet's members over a baritone saxophone pedal. Perry, at one point, has five people speaking. And Stiller uses the last words of the young geologist stationed on Mount St. Helen's before it erupted. 



"Like Mark Twain the news of music's death has been greatly exxagerated... [this album] is a winning collection of selections from the whimsical side of serious music." - Mark Alburger