A comprehensive introduction to saxophone styles in traditional and contemporary Cuban music from one of the most renowned and internationally acclaimed Cuban musicians (Cubanismo, Irakere, Buena Vista Social Club and many others). Features numerous etudes and five original compositions in the styles of Cha-cha-chá, Danzón, Bolero, Guaracha and Latin Jazz. (All levels)For Bb and Eb saxophones. CD included (examples and play-along).
Suite ´Exposiciones´This composition is in its own way meant to be a tribute dedicated to Paquito D´Rivera showing the author´s appreciation for this musician as an exponent of Cuban music of the past and present century, who represents a stronghold and example for all musicians - in particular for saxophonists and clarinetists - not only in his capacity as a performer and composer but also as a cultivator of both sound worlds, the so-called classical music and its popular counterpart in its most ample interpretative spectrum. The piece consists of four movements: Allegro Moderato, Lento, Allegretto and Allegro con Fuoco. Its outstanding feature is the fusion of elements of jazz (such as the improvisation in the first and fourth movements, parts of which are accompanied by the piano with its interpretation being based on concepts characteristic of jazz or the tumbaos to be found in Cuban music) and classical music. The second movement starts off with a short recitativo, followed by a mixture of phrases borrowed from contemporary music, Afro-Cuban styles and jazz, whose distinctive rhythmic cells and articulations clearly define the character of the movement and finally culminate in tempo primo. The third movement shows a certain casualness and tranquility in its melody as well as in its accompaniment, including a cadenza the musician may execute at will; the movement then culminates either in an improvisation ad lib or in the mere execution of the melody as notated. The fourth movement is charged with spiritual energy. Saxophone and piano frequently trade phrases, and there is an abundance of improvised passages and jazz phrases. The movement finally ends in unison forte together with the piano.Nombre de pages :56
El BororoMambo FunkThis mambo-inspired piece of music is dedicated with great affection to Juan Carlos Ledón aka El Bororo, an outstanding Cuban saxophonist, who presently works as a teacher at Belén Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami / USA. The genre and musical style known as mambo was created by the Cuban musician Dámaso Pérez Prado (1917 - 1989). However, it was in Mexico, the country this well-known composer emigrated to, where his interpretations first became famous. This novel style contributed a new form of expression to the already existing rhythmic concepts characterizing Cuban music. The accentuation of the strong beats by employing the cowbell, or cencerro, as the defining instrument, in combination with syncopated figures being executed by saxophones and brass instruments generated a rhythmic performance hitherto unknown in Cuban music. According to Pérez Prado himself, mambo is a syncopated combination of a rhythmic pattern being performed by the saxophones to which any melody can be added. This is exactly what happens in part A of this composition, where the first alto sax plays the melody while the others perform the off-beats. It is primarily the baritone that plays a syncopated rhythm in addition to the rhythmic-harmonic basis of the instrumentation. The correct execution of the notated accents on the strong beats played by the brass and saxophone sections reinforces the clear definition of this style, as is the case with such classic themes like Mambo No. 5 and Qué rico el mambo, which are both compositions by the originator of this genre. Non-musical tools that became integral parts of mambo, such as the characteristic scream let out to end an 8-bar melody, are also made use of in this composition (example: measures 44 through 51). The influence of jazz standards makes itself heavily felt in the piece. El Bororo. This does not only become obvious in the solo performed by the saxophones in part C but also in the riff-like effect, which is a common feature of jazz themes. In this piece, the just mentioned effect can be heard in measures 19 through 26, the only difference being that this riff is here being accompanied by the bass drum executing the first and third beats while the cowbell, or cencerro, is strictly keeping time. The influence of jazz also becomes evident during the improvised solos; they may be executed ad libitum and finally close with a piano solo, which is accompanied by a riff played by the saxophones, executing the second and fourth in order to resume the initial theme to finally conclude the piece. As is the case with any music based on a particular musical style, the actual interpretation of El Bororo should be preceded by the study of representative recordings. With regard to this composition, I recommend listening to the original music created by the King of Mambo.
Canción Para Un ClarinetistaCanción para un clarinetista - this song for a clarinetist is dedicated to one of the most outstanding clarinetists and pedagogues in Cuba, a graduate of the National School of Art in Havana / Cuba as well as the Conservatoire Supérieure de Paris / France. In this piece, the French chanson fuses with the genre of the Cuban contradanza, or to be more exact, with the spirit of this very style, which is the reason why I apply the term tempo de contradanza in this case. This tempo de contradanza refers to a kind of small harmonic cycle which embraces the spirit of an improvised solo and finishes this eight-bar fragment with the intention of a jazz-style riff.In the sequel, it returns to tempo primo resuming the opening pace of the piece and finally ends in a cadence to be executed by the instrumentalist according to his or her taste.Nombre de pages :12
MonólogoIn Monologue for Bb (or A) Clarinet, the dramaturgy of the music passes through various emotional facets, similar to what happens during those theatrical performances where one single actor, or character, expresses himself on the stage. At different instants in the course of this piece of music, meditation and other more extrovert states of mind become apparent in the form of a descarga, or improvisation, conjoining - in a contradictory manner - varying degrees of abstraction and spontaneity.The technical tools and means of expression employed by the composer are contingent upon this antagonism. Among these resources chosen stand out the exploitation of a vast part of the register of this instrument throughout sequences, disjointed intervals and leaps, but also different types of colors applied to the execution of the music. Apart from agogic and dynamic contrasts, it is the predominance of modal turns, the frequent metric modulations and the irregular rhythmic values that are instrumental in building up a powerful musical expressiveness.Performing all alone, while using a musical language influenced by such dissimilar genres as latin jazz or the Cuban canción, and interpreting this composition successfully will represent a pleasing challenge to the instrumentalist who is already familiar with these styles of music. (Ana Victoria Casanova)Nombre de pages :4
Rastro y BelascoaínThis quartet has been composed and, with great affection, been dedicated to the Havana Conservatory of Music in Cuba, where I myself work as a teacher. This composition aims at reflecting an ordinary day filled with everyday activities, revealing different states of mind - with high spirits prevailing -, dynamism as well as unusual noises such as car horns, which I have tried to reproduce, for instance, in the final notes in bars 40, 41, 43 and 45. What mainly manifests itself throughout this work is a spirit of jazz (a genre that is very popular among music students, especially here at our conservatory). A correct execution of the off-beats and syncopations is of great importance, particularly with regard to the baritone sax, which occasionally assumes the part of the bass as it does for example in part A and, above all, in part D, where it provides a jazzy accompaniment for the soloists, performing bebop style accents (see measures 31, 32, 131 and 132) and riff-like phrases (as is done as of measure 116). Please note that the saxophonists, according to preference, may take turns in performing the solos; they should, however, be careful not to exaggerate things in order to prevent the baritone from being overstrained.
Recuerdo de una jornadaRecuerdo de una Jornada was composed for, and dedicated to, the Cuban saxophonist Jorge Luis Almeida and the Havana-based saxophone quartet Habana Sax. Jorge L. Almeida graduated from Cuba´s National School of Arts in 1975 and from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana in 1987; under the tutelage of professor Daniel Deffayet, he completed two courses of studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in France with distinction in the years 1987 and 1990. In 1987, Almeida founded the saxophone quartet Cuarteto de Saxofones de La Habana and later on, in 1991, Habana Sax. The repertoire of the latter, which is one of the most important ensembles of its kind in Cuba, ranges from classical to contemporary music. Infl uences of Cuban popular music as well as jazz can be felt in many of the ensemble´s works, and often a percussionist is added to the group´s lineup. Throughout the years, the quartet has presented itself at festivals and in the most famous concert halls all over the world. Various technical particularities that represent quite a challenge in the execution of Cuban music manifest themselves in this composition, such as syncopations, off-beats, the cinquillo cubano and, as its most prominent aspect, the clave. It is the son clave (2-3) that marks the beginning of the piece and is, for instance, picked up by the four saxophones in measures 30 and 31. The part played by the baritone sax should especially be pointed out: One the one hand, it assumes the role of the bass building the rhythmic and harmonic basis; on the other hand, it provides further rhythmical support when executing the tumbaos in case an additional percussionist is added to the quartet (which, of course, is optional since the piece can be performed without any percussion instruments). In measure 32, the tempo changes and the piece switches over to a Latin jazz feel making use of a phrasing typical of this style. This feeling is maintained up to measure 54, where the tenor sax starts playing a tumbao, developing into a so-called champola (a term that refers to the layering of different tumbaos which, when played in conjunction, result in a contagious rhythmic pattern) in measure 58. Finally, in measure 72, the composition returns to tempo primo, being performed in the style of a son, and ends with the execution of the son clave.
Preludio #2The dedications accompanying Preludio No. 1 and No. 2 show the author´s admiration and respect towards his former teachers and masters, the eminent Cuban clarinetists Roberto Sánchez López (1914 - 1987), Enrique Pardo Fuentes (1905 - 1996) and Juan J. Junco (1913 - 2001), who also stand out as composers and, especially, as notable pedagogues teaching this instrument to several generations of Cuban musicians. Contrived as duos for Bb clarinet and piano, these pieces are exemplary of one of the diversified creative tendencies within contemporary Cuban chamber music, demanding the revelation of the varied spectrum of technical and interpretative possibilities of both instrumentalists.These compositions feature the use of polytonality, the simultaneous application of various modes and complex polyrhythmic passages established between the clarinet and the piano; yet, they also show those huge intervallic leaps and the existence of fragments of improvisational or cadence-like character determining the clarinet´s melodic discourse.Their style is not only sustained by the specific characteristics and complex traits peculiar to contemporary concert music, but also by latin jazz and the distinct manifestations of Cuban popular and folkloristic music. Among the latter, the canción afro and the son stand out by their singular ways of melodic intonation and their typical concatenations and superpositions of sincopes. Achieving an appropriate and pleasing execution and interpretation of these preludes will therefore represent an attractive and tempting challenge to the musicians. Ana V. Casanova (Musicologist)Nombre de pages :12
Pequena Suite para CuatroPequeña Suite para Cuatro (A Little Suite for Four) was composed for, and dedicated to, the saxophone quartet Arsis domiciled in the Cuban city of Pinar del Rio and directed by saxophone teacher Daniel Ayerbe, a graduate from the Havana-based Escuela Nacional de Arte (National School of the Arts). After 20 years of inexhaustible and fruitful work, the quartet´s repertoire comprises everything from classical to Latin American and Cuban music. The first movement named Tuning features a melody written in B minor, which is to be played in unison, whereas the baritone and the tenor both reinforce the principal tuning note, in other words concert pitch A. In Dentro de un Círculo (Within a Circle), which is the title of the second movement, a leitmotiv is being reproduced: The main melody as well as variations on the latter making use of jazz phrases are repeated several times with the four instruments taking turns in assuming the main as well as the supporting voices. The correct execution of the different accents is of utmost importance. As its name suggests, the third movement called Relax is based on a ballad-like melody where the soprano and the baritone saxophones are having a pleasant conversation. Measure 25 is rhythmically complex: The baritone plays a son tumbao whereas the other saxophones allude to an Afro-style rhythm, playing in sextuplets and finally returning to tempo primo to close in a classic 2-3 son clave. The fourth and final movement, Montando en un Carrusel (Riding on the Merry-Go-Round), goes on a joyful melodic ride passing through all the saxophones one after the other; the instruments - like in the second movement - again take turns in performing the main and the supporting voices. Careful attention should be paid to the correct execution of the different accents on syncopations and off-beats, especially as of measure 39. Of equal importance is the accurate performance of the Cuban cinquillo appearing in measure 37 in the tenor, in measure 45 in the alto, in measure 47 in the soprano and finally in measures 51 to 52 in all four instruments. I hope the big family of saxophone players will take pleasure in this suite!