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Cries of the Stentor

soprano saxophone & orchestra edition

Genre: Contemporary


"Cinematic sweep" I enjoyed listening to this piece immensely; if I was producing a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster (a pure fantasy, to be sure), I would ask Nigel to bring along his soprano sax and string section; this piece has an indisputable sense of spaciousness, drama and cinematic sweep. The delicate harp intro, each figure slightly different than the other, sets the tone, after which the natural agility of the soprano sax is played off against the richly atmospheric string writing. The harmonic vocabulary is fresh and adventurous. As evidenced in his other works, Nigel Wood shows himself to be a master of melodic shape; the piano figures at Letter F are alone worth the price of admission, and figures in other places suggest an almost architectonic grasp. The overall programmatic balance is excellent; I particularly like the quiet section at Letter G, the calm before the storm at Letter H. There is very little to criticize here; my only suggestion is that a bit more irregularity could have been injected at the soprano's solo cadenza section; the resemblance between the strict repetition of some of the figures and a technical exercise is a little too close for my taste. But overall, this is an emotionally charged and compelling work.
Roger Freundlich -, 20th Jun 2001

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