One of the objectives of the International Adolphe Sax Association is to participate in the enlargement of the repertoire for classical saxophone through the commission of works to Belgian composers.
For the 4 th edition of the International Adolphe Sax Competition, the association has therefore commissioned a work for alto saxophone and piano to Daniel Capelleti, Michel Lysight, Jean-Luc Fafchamps and one work for alto saxophone and string orchestra to Piet Swerts.
Ge(r)ms by Daniel Capelletti
Belgium - 1958
He entered the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels at the age of 13 in the class of Eduardo del Pueyo, and finished 7 years later, with all the diplomas in instrument, theory and writing. He has won several international competitions of piano, in Belgium and abroad (Italy, Spain). He has won three times the Composition Sabam Prize of the International Queen Elisabeth Music Competition. He gives numerous concerts and recitals all around Europe (Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Poland...).
Among his works, we find Cariatides for violin and piano (1985), Aquarelles for symphonic orchestra (1986), Reeds for 28 simple-reed instruments, work created for the Guides Music in 1997, Sven , symphonic tale on a text by Pierre Coran (1998), Anamorphose for string quartet, created for the Ars Musica Festival 2001, Suite Latino-Américaine for violin, guitar, accordion, piano and double bass, commission of the Soledad ensemble (2002).
He carries out numerous collaborations with other musical genres, as pianist, composer and arranger: in jazz with Philippe Catherine, Bruno Castellucci, Marta Mus., in commercial music with Philippe Lafontaine, Maurane, in the world of cinema with film music.
Since 1980, he teaches Piano at the Academy of Zaventem and, since 1993, teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (musical analysis from 1993 to 1997 and composition from 1997).
for alto saxophone and piano
As the title shows, Ge(r)ms considers, under multiple aspects, the possible relationships between the most embryonic roots and the crystallisation or the concretion of the exploited material. Voluntarily limited to a single and unique modal field, Ge(r)rms takes the form of a mobile of ten short microscopic images - the performers freely choose the order of the execution of these ten sections - which all together create a unique coherence, like the ten facets of a diamond, for example. This work, commissioned by the International Adolphe Sax Association, is compulsory for the preliminary round of the 4 th International Adolphe Sax Competition (Dinant - 2006).
Chronographie IX by Michel Lysight
Belgium-Canada - 1958
After two years of studies in History of Art at the ULB, Michel Lysignt obtained the First Prizes of History of Music, Music Theory Methodology, Psycho-pedagogy, Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue and Bassoon, as well as the Superior Diplomas of Music Theory and Chamber Music at the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels. He studied conducting with René Defossez and Robert Janssens, in whose class he obtained his First Prize in 1997, and the Superior Diploma in 2002. He obtained his First Prize of Composition in 1989, at the Royal Music Conservatory of Mons in the class of Paul-Baudouin Michel. That same year, the Dexia Bank commissioned from him, for its annual competition Axion Classics, the compulsory work for the woodwinds, entitled Soleil Bleu . In 1990, Quatrain for wind quartet obtained the Irène Fuérison Prize of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Belgium. In 1992, he received the Silver Medal with distinction at the International Composition Competition of the International Academy of Lutèce (Paris). The Union of Belgian Composers awarded him the Fuga Trophy in 1997 for his action in favour of the national repertoire.
The discovery of musicians such as Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Pärt or Henryk Mikolaj Górecki was essential for the development of his personal language, which became one of the main figures of the post-modern trend in Belgium. Michel Lysight is member of the Sabam, the Union of Belgian Composers and of the Belgian Centre of Musical Documentation (CeBeDeM). In his catalogue we find about sixty works. Most of them are recorded on CD. Michel Lysight teaches at the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels and at the Academies of Schaerbeek and Bruxelles-Ville. He gives conferences on a regular basis on contemporary music, chairs the jury for the Kaufmann European Music Competition and was invited to teach at the Bilkent University of Ankara (Turkey).
for alto saxophone and piano
Chronographie IX belongs to a series of works ( Chronographies ) which have as common point an identical melodic-harmonic material (C, E, B, G, L). The general character of the work is a kind of race to the abyss requiring an extreme virtuosity from the performers; a lyric pause, a short remission, intervenes shortly before the end, but this rest is illusory, because the frantic race starts again even stronger until the conclusion.
This work, commissioned by the International Adolphe Sax Association, belongs to the list of works to be chosen for the preliminary round of the 4 th International Adolphe Sax Competition (Dinant - 2006).
Décalcomanie de Reich et Ligeti (avec Piazzolla en surimpression) by Jean-Luc Fafchamps
Belgium - 1960
During and after his studies at the Royal Music Conservatory of Mons (piano, chamber music, harmony) and at the UCL (macroeconomics), he gets to know several disciplines (improvisation, rock, composition of stage music, song accompaniment, solo piano...), before devoting his activity to the performance and composition of contemporary music. He then founded the Musica Libera association, for the dissemination of current music and the performance group Le Bureau des Pianistes, with which he visits the literature of several keyboards (Feldman, Wyschnegradski, Reich, B. Mather, J. Tenney and other classics such as Messiaen or Bartok). He nowadays plays the piano in the Ictus ensemble and especially in the Ictus quartet (2 pianos - 2 percussions), with which he has performed numerous premieres (Lindberg, Leroux, Mernier, Aperghis, Harvey, Francesconi, Reich, De Mey...) He carries out recordings and tours, especially with the Compagnie Rosas.
His composition work, approached as autodidact, was acclaimed by the young composers forum of Unesco in 1992 ( Attrition , for string octet) and several of his works were premiered in international festivals such as Présences in Paris, Musique Action in Nancy or Ars Musica in Brussels. Ensembles such as Ictus, Musiques Nouvelles, UI of Lucilin, the Danel quartet, Oxalys, Champ d'Action... have played his music in Belgium and abroad (Europe, former USSR, North America).
First, he devoted himself to the writing for small groups in which the piano had a starring role, before his interest for timbre and non-tempered harmonies dragged him towards other sound combinations: wind quintets, keyboard trio, string quartet... Each of his works derives from different work hypothesis: study of accumulating or destructive formal processes, creation of proportion networks, paranoid mathematisations of scales equivalences, questioning the acoustic identity of textures and of their disintegration, microcosms of versatile temporality, chaotic applications.
Currently he directs most of his work towards much larger formations, or resorting to electronics, works in which, in order to discover new paths towards a flexible complexity, he experiments a way of writing that is more analogical and inductive than combinatorial and that he identifies with a generic title (to be understood more as an indication of the methodological relationship than as a cycle) Lettres Soufies (S, D, Gh for ensemble, T for ensemble and midi instruments, Z, for alto, piano and electronics, K for orchestra). He was the resident composer of the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels during the year 2005-2006. Sub Rosa, label for which he has recorded, on the piano, works by Morton Feldman (Triadic memories), Berio, Liszt, Dallapicolla, Bowles and Scelsi, dedicated two monographic discs to his work: Attrition (1993), and Melencholia si ... (2002). He is preparing a new disc of his recent chamber music with Fuga Libera. Jean-Luc Fafchamps teaches musical analysis at the Royal Music Conservatory of Mons. On 27 th June 2006, he won the prize Octave de la Musique Classique.
DECALCOMANIE DE REICH ET LIGETI (AVEC PIAZZOLLA EN SURIMPRESSION for alto saxophone and piano
Décalcomanie exploits writing techniques which have been freely borrowed from the repetitive minimalism of Steve Reich (1936) and from the harmonic expansion processes by chromatic sliding imagined by György Ligeti (1923-2006). Its title, by way of tribute to the Austrian composer of Hungarian origin, is a kindly ironic periphrasis of one of his three works for two pianos: Selbstportrait mit Reich und Riley (und Chopin ist auch dabei ).
The composition begins with the slow construction of a repetitive figure, filled with passing disturbance, first rhythmic then harmonic, melodic or coloured. The chromatic expansion carried out that way ends in a first climax, which abandons the saxophone in a soloist cadenza, calmer but deeply unstable and broken up: extreme registers, special sounds and colourist poetics are the obvious elements of an underlying virtual polyphony. The conclusion explicitly follows the chromatic expansion, which was, in fact, never abandoned, with a dislocated rhythm inspired by tango. A second destructive climax serves as coda.
This music wants to depict a situation of panic: an impossible escape within a system that is inexorably closed. All instrumental proposals, no matter how much "improvised" they are, are irremediably recovered, recycled or engulfed in the inevitable progression from which they try more and more desperately to escape.
Décalcomanie , very demanding for the instrument and the performer, is a synthesis of different technical approaches to which the saxophone has been subjected since its creation: sound, with the refined articulations of classical music and rhythmic violence, raucous, wild or weird sounds of modern writing, both jazz and contemporary.
This work, commissioned by the International Adolphe Sax Association, is compulsory for the semi-final of the 4 th International Adolphe Sax Competition (Dinant - 2006).
Kotekan by Piet Swerts
Belgium - 1960
From 1974 to 1989, Piet Swerts studied at the Lemmensinstituut of Leuven, where he obtained 10 First Prizes, but also, for the first time in the history of this institution, the Lemmens-Tinel Special Prize for piano and composition with great honours. Among his teachers we find Alan Weiss (USA) and Robert Groslot. Since 1982, he teaches Composition, Piano and Analysis.
He is a composer, pianist and conductor of international renown. His important catalogue includes theatre, orchestra and chamber works for string, choir, voice and piano.
As a composer, he has received ten rewards, including the Baron Flor Peeters Prize (1983) and the Belgian Artistic Promotion Prize (1985). He has also received the Prize of the SABAM (1986) for Piano Concerto n° 2 (Rotations) , which was chosen as compulsory concerto in the final of the Queen Elisabeth International Competition. He has also won the Composition Prize Camille Huysmans (1986) and the Composition Prize of the Province of Limburg (1986). He has also received the Silver Trophy of the Cultural Youth Passport Belgium-Netherlands (1988), as promising young artist, the Prize of the Gazet van Antwerpen (1989) and the Composition Prize of the Province of Brabant (1993).
As a composer, he considers himself an autodidact, although in 1981 he participated in a composition course with Witold Lutoslawski and Vladimir Kotonsky in Poland. From 1985 to 2005, he was the conductor of the Ensemble for Contemporary Music at the Lemmensinstituut. In 1993, his concerto for violin Zodiac was chosen among 154 works, from 28 countries, as compulsory concerto for the final of the Queen Elisabeth International Competition. The same year, a double CD of the first world performance of his Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Marcum for four soloists, choir and full orchestra (composed in 1988-89 and performed for the first time in 1993) was released. Piet Swerts has been invited as conductor in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, The Netherlands, Poland and China, where he conducted the Symphonic Orchestra of Shanghai, in 1994, performing his own works. In October 2005, he was invited to conduct the Simon Bolivar Symphonic Orchestra in Caracas (Venezuela), where he conducted a whole programme of Belgian music including some of his own works.
In December 1996, his first opera Les Liaisons Dangereuses was represented for the first time by the Flemish Opera in Ghent and Antwerp. In January 1997, Eufoda released a CD devoted to his compositions (1985-1995) and which was recorded by the composer himself.
In September 2000, the first world performance of his work Symphony n° 2 (Morgenrot) was unanimously acclaimed by the critics. His last concerto for piano Wings already presented successfully in Belgium, France, Canada, Japan, Singapore, China, was played by the composer in Oregon on 18 th December 2005.
Klonos , for alto saxophone and piano, was part of the list of works to choose for the preliminary round of the 2 nd International Adolphe Sax Competition (Dinant - 1998) and was compulsory at the semi-final of the 3 rd International Adolphe Sax Competition (Dinant - 2002).
for alto saxophone and string orchestra
The work is linked by two movements: the final movement, the Kotekan , a very virtuous and rhythmic movement, while at the beginning, we find a movement with a lyrical character instead. It is a narrative introduction, entitled Noro t, because it is a freer movement where the soloist has the opportunity to sing freely and where the orchestra must follow him.
Kotekan implies the rhythmic interactions of two or several instruments in the orchestra from Gamelan to Bali. Norot means "following". The two terms are derived from Gamelan Balinese music. Their polyrhythmic possibilities turned out to be very inspiring for the writing of a work based on an unusual arrangement of the string orchestra divided in three string quintets facing each other. The soloist will find himself in the middle of the orchestra and will play these kotekan melodies against the ketjak choirs, the three string quintets.
The ketjak is a kind of ballet accompaniment based on the epic of Ramayana, the history of prince Rama and his future wife, the beautiful Sita. The ketjak is the imitation of an episode in which Hanuman, the king of monkeys and his army meet Rama. The choir is made up of almost all the men in the Balinese village, who are forming very concentric circles, while singing the rhythm of a monosyllable, tjak, with a guttural sound.
There are different types of kotekan. In a Gamelan orchestra, we have the polos, played on the primary beat, and the sangsih played off the beat. In this work, the polos are played by quintet 1 and the sangsih by quintet 3 or 2. The result is a fascinating orchestration where one can hear the rhythmic figures coming from the left, the right or the middle.
Besides, the composer uses a scale of sound based on the name of Adolphe Sax. The name Adolphe Sax gives like a mode a b (German h) d e (la-si-re-mi); the S or Sax gives E flat. That is the reason why Piet Swerts transposed this mode ABDE a tritone higher. The result is then a scale in a very exotic scale: a-bes-b-d-es-e-f-gis (la-si flat-si natural-re-mi flat-mi natural-fa, sol sharp). This scale may be transposed several times and will give the work a very particular colour.
This work, commissioned by the International Adolphe Sax Association, is compulsory for the final of the 4 th International Adolphe Sax Competition (Dinant - 2006).