Amherst Saxophone Quartet lets loose at concert

Works reviewed: 
Andante et Scherzetto, Pierre Lantier
Phantom Melos (1981), Rocco Di Pietro
Toccata and Fugue, Johann Sebastian Bach
Saxophone Quartet, Alec Wilder
Nuages, Eugene Bozza
Phantom Melos
Memories of You, Eubie Blake
Stuart News
Stuart, Florida
Apr 5 1996
By: 
Robert S. Butler

The Amherst Saxophone Quartet, which prides itself on presenting a decidedly unstuffy experience to its audiences, did just that March 29 at Stuart's Lyric Theater. The saxophone virtuosos, final season presentation of the Treasure Coast Concert Association, are always a delight., running the musical gamut from classical to jazz. Stephen Rosenthal, Tenor sax, serves as the Buffalo, N.Y. group's announcer and stand-up comic. Steve provides an ongoing humorous, iconoclastic commentary on the evening's music and other unrelated subjects. His wisecracks, jokes and hijinks relax and amuse. It definitely provides a unique approach and was to the audience's liking. The talented four are all serious musicians. They have a wonderfully rich, sauve, mellifluous tone. They began with Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, playing with crisp articulation in the contrapuntal piece; almost putting Virgil Fox to shame. French composer Lantier's Andante et Scherzetto opened with an impressionistic conventionally harmonic Andante evocative of a rippling, meandering stream. The following Scherzetto was lively and droll. Alec Wilder's Saxophone Quartet (1967) displayed a jazz influence with an improvisational feel. A moody, undulating cantabile ... a fascinating and hypnotic, repeated rhythmic pattern in the second movement and a jazzy, free cacophony in the third movement. Eugene Bozza/ Nuages featured chromatic scales descriptive of clouds whirling and scampering across the sky. Rocco Di Pietro's Phantom Melos was a haunting modern composition on the cutting edge. The work was composed for the group in 1981. The evening concluded with some toe-tapping jazz selections, including a wonderful Duke Ellington piece. Ragtime selections of Eubie Blake concluded the concert with an especially fine rendition of Blake's Memories of You.

Amherst Saxophone Quartet lets loose at concert