Published on Apr 23, 2014

Charles Koechlin
15 Etudes for Saxophone & Piano, Op. 188 (1943)

Federico Mondelci, alto saxophone
Kathryn Stott, piano

I. Pour les traits rapides (0:12)
II. Pour les sons lies et le charme de la sonorite (1:39)
III. Pour les arpeges (5:17)
IV. Pour la douceur des attaques (7:10)
V. Pour le charme du son dans un mouvement vif (9:59)
VI. Pour le style soutenu et doux en sons lies (12:22)
VII. Pour les sons lies et le charme de la sonorite (15:27)
VIII. Pour les notes en staccato et le melange de legato et staccato (19:16)
IX. Pour la longeur de la respiration et l’egalite du son (22:50)
X. Pour la qualite du son dans un style soutenu et pour les nuances (25:12)
XI. Pour la solidite du rythme (28:08)
XII. Pour l’egalite du son et pour les nuances (29:11)
XIII. Pour la legerete du son (36:08)
XIV. Pour une sonorite soutenue et expressive, pour la douceur du grave et de l’aigue (38:27)
XV. Pour les accents qui doivent donner le rythme de la phrase (41:20)

These compositions and performances are equally a welcome addition to an existing music library and superb introduction to classical saxophone music.

Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) was a French composer of myriad styles of composition (solo instrumental, sonata, smaller ensembles, symphonies, orchestrations of other composer’s music, …) and the author of seminal works on harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration. Incredibly, most of his music wasn’t even published during his lifetime!

The 15 Etudes for Saxophone and Piano were written in 1942-3. They are much more than “etudes” (often, music written to increasingly challenge the player – wind, string, piano pieces demanding difficult fingering, intonation, dynamics, phrasing, etc.). These pieces do, of course, require masterful technique – but the “etude” Koechlin is offering (as per his playing instructions for each study) is “smooth joining of notes”, “enchanting tone”, “lightness of tone”, …

I have heard other performances of Koechlin’s Etudes (no names …) that I thought were wonderful – until I heard Federico Mondelci. To be fair, I still enjoy the other performances (even created some YouTube videos juxtaposing 3 different musicians), but Mr. Mondelci’s is, I think, the most fully realized. The others (perhaps because of their “school” of playing) play the pieces in a monotone style, lacking the dynamics, expressive tonality, and phrasing of Mr. Mondelci’s performance.

Charles Koechlin wrote the Etudes for Saxophone and PIANO, and here’s where Kathryn Stott’s contribution is magnificent – unlike the other pianists (again, no names …), her performance is clear and standalone – the ensemble playing of Mr. Mondelci and Ms. Stott gives us the piece of music that Charles Koechlin wrote.

Jazz musicians and fans should also give this a listening to … after all, Charlie Parker was often seen carrying Bartok recordings, and clearly, many jazz pianists are familiar with Satie.

Published on Jul 26, 2015

Evgeny Kissin playing 8 of Chopin’s Etudes from op. 10 and op. 25, live in Moscow in 2009. This recital was in memory of Yevgeny Svetlanov, and at the end Kissin made a very graceful touch by laying all the flowers at the foot of the enlarged photo of Svetlanov. Timing below:

00:00 – etude op. 10 no. 1
02:03 – etude op. 10 no. 2
03:27 – etude op. 10 no. 3
07:45 – etude op. 10 no. 4
09:53 – etude op. 10 no. 12 ‘Revolutionary’
12:44 – etude op. 25 no. 5
16:22 – etude op. 25 no. 6
18:31 – etude op. 25 no. 11

Евгений Кисин – Фредерик Шопен – Этюды