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The only other original works for saxophone on the disc are the final two. Canadian John Burge (born 1961) wrote The Blues of a Chagall Window at Rubinoff's request especially for this disc. It is a strong powerful piece that makes good uses of the unusual combination of saxophone and organ [listen -- track 13, 1:37-2:57]. Denis Bédard (born 1950) is a prolific French-Canadian composer. His Sonata No 1 for Alto Saxophone and Organ is a good example of his finely crafted and melodic music. The Sonata is in two movements, the Fauré-esqe opening barcarolle being followed by a humoresque notable for its Poulenc-like wit.

These four works show both Rubinoff and his accompanist, Christopher Dawes, at their best. If they had been able to complete the remainder of the programme at such a high level, then this would have been a stunning début. Unfortunately, they have filled the disc with a group of arrangements, with varying success. Such programmes can be made to work, as John Harle brilliantly displayed in his Songbook disc. But on that disc, Harle used both piano and harpsichord for accompaniment. On this disc, Rubinoff and Dawes stick to organ accompaniment throughout and I think this is a mistake.

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Copyright © 6 April 2004 Robert Hugill, London UK


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