ABOUT THE ALBUM
1: Exploration of Glass’s music by classical saxophonist, Amy Dickson
This album continues Amy Dickson’s in-depth exploration of the works of leading contemporary composer, Philip Glass, who celebrates his 80th birthday in January 2017.
Amy Dickson’s fascination with Philip Glass’s music began 10 years ago when she discovered Glass’s Violin Concerto. After many hours transcribing the work for the saxophone and learning circular breathing in order to master the work, Amy recorded the Concerto on soprano saxophone in 2008 and this recording has been remastered for this release.
Last year, Amy set herself a further challenge - one more difficult than the original - to transcribe Glass’s Violin Sonata.
She has also recorded two pieces from the film ‘The Hours’, which have been arranged for saxophone and piano especially for this album.
2: Philip Glass’s 80th birthday:
The album will be released in the week that Philip Glass turns 80. Coincidentally, 2017 also marks the 30th birthday of the Violin Concerto (which was written as a memorial to Glass’s father), and 15 years since the release of ‘The Hours’.
It is also Amy Dickson’s 10th anniversary as a Sony artist, during which time she has released 7 albums.
For the Glass Violin Sonata and ‘The Hours’, Amy Dickson is joined by her long-term duo partner, pianist Catherine Milledge, with whom she recorded her first album, ‘Smile’.
3: BBC Music Magazine Review of the Glass Concerto:
“Amy Dickson’s arrangement for soprano saxophone actually works better than the original (which isn’t too surprising: Glass said he wrote the work for his own sound, not that of the violin). The fast passages sound crisper; the bubbling arpeggios and long slow notes have new varied textures thanks to the saxophone’s reedy depth; the insistent solo interjections in the finale now pierce the orchestra; and occasional violin-specific techniques, such as multiple stopping, are translated with no musical loss. It’s helped by a fine, clear recording (with the best percussion sound of any) with well-focussed wind lines, and the punchiest, best-driven brass power in the nicely-near-chaotic finale”.
4: Circular Breathing:
In order to play Glass’s violin music on the soprano saxophone, Amy taught herself to circular breathe, a technique used by players of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption. This led to a fascination with breathing techniques and the effect that they can have on health and well-being.
In an effort to help others learn to breathe better, Amy Dickson has established a schools’ campaign, ‘Take A Breath’ in association with the UK charity ‘Children and the Arts’. ‘Take A Breath’ aims to teach primary school children how to breathe well so as to be better equipped to deal with stress and anxiety. Initially tested in 2016, the campaign will be presented in schools throughout the UK from January 2017.
Amy has also given a lecture on breathing techniques to students of the Royal College of Music, London.
1. Sonata for Violin and Piano (Arr. for Saxophone and Orchestra) - Movement I
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano (Arr. for Saxophone and Orchestra) - Movement II
3. Sonata for Violin and Piano (Arr. for Saxophone and Orchestra) - Movement III
4. Morning Passages (From "The Hours")
5. Escape! (from "The Hours")
6. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Arr. for Saxophone and Orchestra - I. Crotchet = 104
7. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Arr. for Saxophone and Orchestra - II. Crotchet = 108
8. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Arr. for Saxophone and Orchestra - III. Crotchet = 150