THE CLASSICAL SAXOPHONE
A French Love Story
Features World Premiere Recordings of Works By
"[a] gorgeous recording... a long-overdue revelation."
Arsenio Orteza, World Magazine - August 29, 2009
"[Oviedo has a] sweet, controlled sound and the predominantly lyrical interpretive approach that is the hallmark of French saxophone-playing. Oviedo's style fits this program perfectly. If I could have only one version [of Glazunov's Concerto] it would be Oviedo's. The Hure is particularly lovely. Oviedo meets the technical challenges of the Mayeur nicely... the Bozza shows off the soloist's elegant bel canto tone to good effect... In sum, a must-buy release for saxophone fanciers and highly recommended release for anyone attracted to genial French music of the last century."
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare - May/June 2009
"We owe so much to the persistence of both Javier Oviedo and Jean-Pierre Schmitt for ‘rediscovering’ these lesser known works. Also we are indebted for their faultless performance a result no doubt of a growing love and admiration for the character within each work... As they rediscovered these pieces it must have been like opening a long lost treasure trove of previously forgotten gems. Who better to find them than these two highly talented musicians? As a consequence their enthusiasm, understanding, and respect for each of the chosen pieces shines through from the disc amid performances of an extraordinarily high standard... Javier Oviedo’s faultless tone is as exquisite as ever. Jean-Pierre’s perfectly balanced orchestral arrangements appear on both Mayeur’s, and Bozza’s compositions. With the majority of the album providing world premiere recordings of these compositions it succeeds in shining a light upon previously ‘lost’ work."
Jeff Perkins, BlogCritics - March 2009
"Oviedo is an excellent instrumentalist... "
Turok's Choice - Issue No.205, December 2008
"The music is rich, lush, and colorful, and one is tempted to praise repeatedly Oviedo's gorgeous sound, which fits these pieces perfectly...the Orchestre Pasdeloup is both sensitive and brilliant. Schmitt mainatins the right balance between soloist and ensemble, and one can sense that Oviedo and the Orchestre Pasdeloup are working together to transcend the concerto genre. This is a collaboration in the true sense of the word...each [work] is beautiful, well-written, and enjoyable...[the Bozza and Glazunov] are rendered with great care and warmth, and the performances are very satisfying. The program notes are very well done. "
American Record Guide - November / December 2008
"...The variations on Carnival of Venice are quite the showpiece, and the haunting tune of Bozza’s short Aria makes a fine closing to the album."
Audiophile Audition - October 2008
PROGRAM NOTESMy interest with French repertoire began while a student at The University of Texas at Austin. My studies with the renowned saxophonist, Harvey Pittel, introduced me to the then-peculiar sonorities and lush, quite modern harmonies of the composers of France, especially those from the turn of the 20th century. This newly-acquired taste for the French sensibility led me to discover many other facets of art from that culture such as art, literature and language.
One of the works young saxophonists study is the Rapsodie pour Orchestre et Saxophone by Claude Debussy. What enticed me about this piece, aside from its incredible beauty, was its unique history involving the composer and saxophonist Elise Hall of Boston. I relayed this tale to Jean-Pierre Schmitt upon which he became very interested in researching other commissioned repertoire for which Madame Hall was responsible. After a trip to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, we discovered that the estate of Elise Hall actually left these works to the archive at the New England Conservatory of Music back in Boston!
A much shorter trip from New York to Boston uncovered musical gems of the French repertoire by composers almost forgotten by the public. With the assistance of the staff at the Library in Boston, we were able to obtain copies of these scores and introduce them to the public. Throughout the year, Mr. Schmitt and I have had the great pleasure in performing concerts both in the USA and in France, reacquainting audiences with the great spectrum of color and expression of this well-known instrument as well as its rich musical past.
* * *
Acclaimed for his lustrous tone and formidable technique, saxophonist Javier Oviedo has traveled across the country and around the world, bringing the significant but underplayed classical saxophone repertoire to new and appreciative audiences. His recent engagements with orchestras such as the New Jersey Symphony, The Louisiana Philharmonic and Orchestre Pasdeloup were enjoyed by press and public alike. He has a special affinity for France and its culture and has toured and concertized extensively there. Mr. Oviedo has performed in recitals and with orchestras in many of New York’s most prestigious performance venues, including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the Dag Hammerskjöld Auditorium at The United Nations. An active and accomplished chamber musician, Mr. Oviedo is a charter member of both The F.R.E.D. Chamber Players and Elision Saxophone Quartet and can be heard on the latter’s LIVE Through the Years recording.
After graduating from the National Conservatory of Versailles and the International Conservatory of Paris, conductor Jean-Pierre Schmitt studied orchestral conducting with Jean-Claude Hartmann at the Conservatory of Creteil. In 1979, he was appointed conductor of the student orchestra of the Conservatory of Paris. In 1982 he began private studies with the great French conductor, Jean Fournet. Upon his arrival in The United States, Mr. Schmitt served as conductor of the Lawyers Orchestra in New York. In 1998 he founded the French-American Chamber Orchestra, performing in such New York venues as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium at the United Nations and Florence Gould Hall. In 2003, he recorded with this ensemble both Haydn cello concertos with cellist Ariane Lallemand. Mr. Schmitt is guest conductor of The Classic Chamber Orchestra in Connecticut and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Macedonia. He recently conducted the Chamber Ensemble Resonare in Paris. He is also co-founder and conductor of the New York Wind Symphony.
Founded in 1861 by Jules Pasdeloup, the orchestra that bears his name is the oldest active orchestra in France. Since its creation, the Orchestre Pasdeloup has premiered works by Bizet, Lalo, Honneger, Franck, Ravel, Roussel, Saint-Saëns, Schmitt and many others under the batons of its permanent conductors such as Rhene Baton, Albert Wolff and Gerard Devos. Under the guidance of its new Artistic Counsellor, renown French violinist Patrice Fontanarosa, the Orchestra has divided its activities in three main directions: the regular season of concerts, an educational program with a series of concerts for children from the Ile-de-France area and an operatic partnership with the Opera-Comique. The Orchestre Pasdeloup has performed with many of the world's best known international conductors and soloists.
Jean HURÉ (1877-1930)
Louis MAYEUR (1837-1894)
Gabriel GROVLEZ (1879-1944)
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Eugène BOZZA (1905-1991)