Release Date: April 12, 2019
Catalog #: RR8010
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Saxophone

Migration

Fuego Quartet
Nicki Roman soprano saxophone
Erik Elmgren alto saxophone
Harrison Clarke tenor saxophone
Gabriel Piqué baritone saxophone

The Fuego Quartet, featuring saxophonists Nicki Roman, Erik Elmgren, Harrison Clarke, and Gabriel Piqué, makes their Ravello Records debut with the innovative MIGRATION, a collection that demonstrates the versatility and complexity of the saxophone as it migrates through genre boundaries.

The album kicks off with Recitation Book, a set of five pieces by composer David Maslanka that transform Bach chorales, madrigals, Gregorian chants, and more into various forms and structures. These arrangements, as performed by the Fuego Quartet, bring listeners into a calm listening sphere that reflects the music of the past in the midst of our busy, technology-saturated world. This set leads into William Albright’s Fantasy Etudes, the more loosely-formed, jazzy arrangements by the late 20th-century composer. Standing as a threshold in the middle of the album, Fantasy Etudes welcomes listeners away from familiar audial experiences into the realm of the slightly less familiar, more experimental sounds.

Albright’s compositions make for the perfect lead into Ornithology S, the work of contemporary composer Clay Mettens that is inspired by visual artist Juan Fontanive’s flipbooks of the same name. The saxophones recreate the sounds of birds singing as they fly, as well as using key clicks and slaps to imitate the turning of the mechanical book. Bringing the visual pieces to life while also showing the sonic possibilities of the saxophone, Ornithology S is a stunning conclusion to this fascinating collection.

The saxophone has had a unique history as a classical instrument, from its challenges entering into that particular sphere to its welcoming in via jazz and rock music. With MIGRATION, Fuego Quartet demonstrates all that is possible with the saxophone, showing how it transcends musical boundaries with ease.

Listen

Hear the full album on YouTube

Stream/Buy

Choose your platform

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Recitation Book: I. Broken Heart (Meditation on the Chorale Melody "Der du bist drei in Einigkeit") David Maslanka Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 4:26
02 Recitation Book: II. Prelude/Chorale (Meditation on "Jesu meine Freude") David Maslanka Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 3:47
03 Recitation Book: III. Ecco morirò dunque (After Gesualdo) David Maslanka Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 1:31
04 Recitation Book: IV. Meditation on "O Salutaris Hostia" David Maslanka Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 3:22
05 Recitation Book: V. Fanfare/Variations on "Durch Adams Fall" David Maslanka Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 10:02
06 Fantasy Etudes: Prelude - No. 1, A Real Nice Number William Albright Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 4:47
07 Fantasy Etudes: No. 2, Pypes William Albright Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 3:58
08 Fantasy Etudes: No. 3, The Fives for Steve William Albright Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 3:25
09 Fantasy Etudes: No. 4, Phantom Galop William Albright Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 4:35
10 Fantasy Etudes: No. 5, Harmonium (Heiliger Dankgesang) William Albright Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 5:08
11 Fantasy Etudes: No. 6, They Only Come Out at Night William Albright Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 2:49
12 Ornithology S David Clay Mettens Fuego Quartet | Nicki Roman, soprano saxophone; Erik Elmgren, alto saxophone; Harrison Clarke, tenor saxophone; Gabriel Piqué, baritone saxophone 10:40

Recorded August 7-10, 2018 at Hugh Hodgson Hall in the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center in Athens GA

Recording Session Producer Connie Frigo
Recording Session Engineer Paul Griffith
Recording Session Assistant Will Marlow

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Brandon MacNeil

Vice President, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Production Engineer Lucas Paquette
Art Director Brett Picknell

Design Ryan Harrison, Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland

Artist Information

Fuego Quartet

Performer

Renowned for their award-winning performances, the Fuego Quartet is devoted to the performance of both standard and contemporary works for all audiences. Founded in 2015 at the Eastman School of Music, Fuego is passionate about community engagement and education, striving to bring new sounds into familiar spaces and introduce music of all types to audiences through friendly, creative, and informative performances. They have been successful in numerous competitions, including winning the 2017 Fischoff Gold Medal and prizes in the 2017 Plowman Chamber Music Competition and the MTNA National Chamber Music Competition.

Learn More

Nicki Roman

Saxophonist

One of the most decorated saxophonists of her generation, Nicki Roman has won prizes at prestigious competitions such as the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Solo Competition, Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Solo Competition, William C. Byrd International Competition, Fischoff, and the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship. She has been a featured concerto soloist with the Eastman Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, UW-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble, Illinois Wind Symphony, University of North Florida Orchestra, and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. Across North America, Europe, and Asia, Nicki has shared solo and chamber music performances at venues such as the China National Centre for the Performing Arts, Shandong University of the Arts, Zagreb Academy of Music, Krannert Center for Performing Arts, Rio All-Suite Casino in Las Vegas, Brevard Summer Music Festival, and the Zelazo Performing Arts Center.

Learn More

Notes

MIGRATION is inspired by the saxophone’s representation in many genres of music and its versatility in recreating sounds from both musical and non-musical origins. Despite the saxophone existing for only about 200 years, it has had a turbulent journey as a concert instrument. It was not until the welcoming of the instrument in more popular genres, such as jazz, rock, and film music, that the saxophone really began to flourish. These ties to popular music lie at the roots of the saxophone’s heritage and free the instrument from the restraints that bind most traditional instruments to a particular genre. We strive to capture that freedom and flexibility throughout this album by migrating between multiple sound worlds. These worlds include traditional classical music, popular genres, film music, world music, and contemporary music.

David Maslanka’s Recitation Book takes the chorales of Johann Sebastian Bach and recomposes them into different forms, projecting emotions of courage, melancholy, and reflection. Maslanka characterizes his composing style as being vocal; the singing quality of the saxophone was his inspiration for writing the piece and serves as the compositional foundation for the work. The liturgical references to life, death, and spiritual transcendence are the central themes of Recitation Book. Taking the listeners through sounds of pipe organs, madrigals, Gregorian chants, and chorales, this intimate setting of vocal music for saxophone invites us all to pause, listen, and contemplate in our ever-moving and technologically connected world.

William Albright’s Fantasy Etudes, the oldest work featured on this album, showcases some of the most versatile sounds and varied genres associated with the instrument. The jazz genre has inseparable ties to the saxophone, and Albright uses this style as one of the main compositional ingredients throughout the entirety of the work. Divided into six movements, each caricature vividly displays Albright’s colorful imagination. After an “Index” that serves as a table of contents for the featured themes, Albright opens the work with a musical anecdote of an awkward encounter between two publishers in “A Real Nice Number,” where the punch line of the story is “Now that Claire-de-Lune; that’s a real nice number!” In “Pypes,” he views the saxophone as an elaborate pipe instrument, melding the saxophones’ melodic qualities with sounds of other pipe instruments, such as bagpipes. Albright often dedicates a movement from each of his works to a friend who passed away, and “The Fives for Steve” is dedicated to Stephen Albert, a fellow composer who tragically passed away in 1992 as a result of an automobile accident. Other movements act as allusions to everyday life, such as “Phantom Galop,” which captures the history and sounds of transportation from galloping horses to train whistles and steamboats. The coda of this movement captures the sounds of geese flying over his house in Michigan. Albright’s childhood memory is prevalent in the final two movements of this work. “Harmonium” emulates the Victorian harmoniums of his youth, while “They only come out at night” recalls the noire music from old late-night TV mystery and detective shows of the 1950s and 60s. Each movement of this work migrates between snapshots from the composer’s tragically short life, reimagining them with vivacity, sentimentality, and nostalgia. Albright mixes musical ideas with the sonic cacophony of everyday life throughout this work. Fantasy Etudes serves as the halfway point in our album, a transitional phase from the sounds of the familiar to the sounds of the unfamiliar.

Finally, the album concludes with a newly commissioned work from David Clay Mettens. Inspired by the “Ornithology” series of visual artist Juan Fontanive, Mettens seeks to recreate the visual awe of Fontanive’s installations in his work, Ornithology S. Victorian-era clock parts rapidly turn over images of birds, the composite showing birds of flashing colors in a stuttering, perpetual flight. Mettens hollows out the quartet into two extremes of sound. The first world consists of fluttering tones that depict the various birds and their shifting flights as the pages of the machine flip from one image to the next. The second sound world features the percussive aspects of the saxophone, including key clicks and slaps, transforming the saxophone quartet into an ensemble of barely pitched wooden percussion instruments. Mettens fuses two worlds to create an expansive and unique landscape that brings Fontanive’s visual art to sonic life.

SPECIAL THANKS
Chien-Kwan Lin
Connie Frigo
Paul Griffith
Will Marlow
University of Georgia Performing Arts Center

ALBUM SUPPORTERS
Cris & Marilyn Barnes
Jose Barrientos
Jen Batson
William Clarke
Rich Forsen
Connie Frigo
John Good
Jacob Graybill
Jarl & Sheila Elmgren
John Elmgren
Pete & Karen Elmgren
Allison Hamilton
James & Kathy Hamilton
Jeannie Hamilton
Donna Himmelberg
Pamela Jennings
Rebecca Klopp
Gloria Lee
Michael Loftus
Michael McKain
Clay Mettens
Spiro Nicolas
Xavier & Edelma Piqué
Suzanne & Jim Plouffe
Project Fusion Saxophone Quartet
Brooks and Jan Reid
Alan & Patty Roman
Mona Seghatoleslami
Baljinder Sekhon
Vandoren USA
Zachary Woolhouse

Videos

Recitation Book V. Fanfare/Variations on the chorale melody Durch Adams Fall (David Maslanka)

Albright: Fantasy Etudes, Pypes, They only come out at night