Album Review

Clementi, Aldo – “For Saxophones” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

Naysayer   5/4/2016   A Library, CD

Aldo Clementi, post war Italian composer, coming out of the age of serialist composition but not following that course. Known for being quiet, both personally and in compositional style. Commenting on living in a time when everything musically had been done, then where to go? Reinterpreting classic works and composing pieces based on using letters in a persons name as notes that repeat in the piece. Influenced by Italian abstract paintings. A member of the famous Darmstadt summer school music sessions. Composing pieces which circle back upon themselves, seemingly having no beginning or ending and being about themselves, the piece moving around and around. That, in a nutshell and in laymen’s terms sort of expresses what Clementi was about.
The pieces in “For Saxophones” come from the later part of Clementi’s “creative span” from 1995 to 2005. These are transcriptions by Manuele Morbidini of Clementi’s pieces, mostly string quartets. Working closely with Aldo before his death, Morbidini wanted the pieces to be played by jazz musicians, with expertise in improvisation. Aldo Clementi approved. Morbidini, along with fellow sax players Pasquale Laino, Pedro Spallati, and Rossano Emili deliver astounding sound. What we have are exquisite interpretations filled with space, pause, layering, solos, contrapuntal notation. A sax can easily overwhelm. Not so here. Subtlety, mellowness, a respect for the other, a blending together is what is heard. Elegant in it’s abstractness and circularity.

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