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It's WARM!! It's the 4th straight day that JMU has had sunny skies and temperatures at or above 70 degrees, and it's really insane how something as inconsequential as nice weather cheers everything up. Who could be depressed in shorts? Not I!

Anyways, things at JMU are going quite well lately, although I'm a bit behind on classes stuff but nothing really important.

AND my Dad got me, for my birthday (which hasn't happened yet) two CDs of classical saxophone music! God, I love it.

The first is Theodore Kerkezos, my favorite classical saxophonist and the player who I most frequently try to imitate (although sometimes I try to sound like Mule as a joke - my Rascher imitation is so awful I've given up on it). Kerkezos is my classical idol. And he's Greek, which is awesome, because typically Saxophonists fall neatly into the French or German schools. The American school, taught extremely well at Eastman by the way, is interesting but a lot of times American players brighten up their tones a bit and have a slightly jazz-like tone. Which is to be expected, after all Jazz is a purely American art form, but generally an American saxophonist playing an American piece doesn't do it for me. The Creston Sonata is my least favorite of the "Classics" of classical saxophone music. Of course you do hear a lot of Americans playing French and German music really well, but then they aim for those sounds so it's not nearly as unique.

Which is why I LOVE this collection. It's a Greek player playing Greek compositions. Kerkezos is certainly more French than German but there's enough dissenting from Parisian style that I wouldn't classify him as a French player. These pieces, many of which are from the past 20 years, are really cool. The orchestral support is rarely modern sounding (American pieces usually are) which is important because Saxophones are so new of an instrument that there aren't any Sax concertos until the very late Romantic period. And even then people didn't understand the potential of the instrument. These pieces mix old style composing with the relatively newfound abilities of a saxophone.

There's also a few Soprano Saxophone concertos in here and that's very interesting, if a bit irritating at points, I've never attempted a longer work for Soprano, but always wanted to. Maybe this summer...

I also got a Claude Delangle CD of Alto Saxophone, he's French, but he's playing French music and in particular some pieces I know quite well. I always could use another recording of Scaramouche.

By the way, if you read all this and weren't bored to tears, I do suggest listening to a recording of Scaramouche sometime. It's a good taste of classical saxophone music and the whole work is only about 10 minutes long. Totally worth it. The 3rd movement even has a latin feel to it despite being a French piece.


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