Boasting a breathtaking array of French music – and music inspired by France – for saxophone and piano, this two-disc set takes listeners on a tour of Gallic repertoire composed or adapted for this most versatile and seductive of combinations. The breadth of styles showcased in French Connection is unified by saxophonist Guido Bäumer’s even and a warm tone.
Many of the works on this collection belong to or are related to impressionism, including stunning pieces by Debussy, Schmitt and Jolivet, although there is also music from composers such as Milhaud, who rejected and moved beyond impressionism, alongside works of the earlier, more Romantic French school. Some of these Romantic pieces have been adapted from their original incarnations for flute and piano; Guido Bäumer’s first instrument was the flute, so he is uniquely placed to interpret this material with fluency and finesse. The collection is rounded off by Argentine composer Piazzolla, whose Tango-Études combine the discipline of the French instrumental study with the unmistakeable rhythmic pulse of the tango.
On of many highlights, French Connection includes the evocative Tableaux de Provence by Paule Maurice, who was inspired to capture the essence of Provençale life by a holiday she spent in the region with the great saxophonist Marcel Mule and his wife, and with her husband, fellow composer Pierre Lantier.
The first saxophone record owned by Guido Bäumer was a collection of French music. He became so enthralled by it that he decided to become a classical saxophonist. Now, this process comes full circle, as, with pianist Aladár Rácz, he pays tribute to the repertoire which so caught his imagination – and changed the course of his life. This is the second Odradek CD from this duo, following the success of their debut disc, Flashback.