United saxophones #2: the Habanera quartet plays Berceuse by Fred Pallem
The genesis of the work goes back more than twenty years. Fred Pallem, then a student at the CNSM, began writing this lullaby based on a comic strip. Thought for a string orchestra, the piece was finally arranged a few months later for Le Sacre du Tympan, a jazz group he formed with about fifteen musicians. "I've always been a little hungry, because for me, this piece was thought for a big marching band" says the composer.
When the Habanera quartet and Philippe Ferro (musical director of the OHRC) decided to work together on a creative project, it was quite natural that the name Fred Pallem came up. His music is at the same time scholarly, humorous, popular, modern...
The composer accepted the proposal and decided to arrange his work for a large group; thus was born Berceuse (et tout ce qui s'ensuit) for wind band and saxophone quartet.
This piece is marked by Charles Ives (a major influence for the composer), but also and more generally by jazz, marching bands and South African music. We find of course the melody of Brahms' lullaby at the beginning and the end of the piece. It was the first time for Fred Pallem to collaborate with a contemporary saxophone quartet, a good experience obviously :
"It was a... How can I put it? For a composer it's absolute happiness, you can write anything and everything for them, everything will be played. There are no problems, no difficulties... Everything is possible. [...] They are four absolutely incredible musicians."
Next week, we'll have a piece by Franck Ticheli, performed by Claude Delangle. Subscribe to our Facebook publications so you don't miss anything!