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Mothertongue Ensemble Performance

Mothertongue Ensemble / classical, contemporary

The Mothertongue Ensemble, composed of Boston-based saxophonists Emily Cox and Charles Larson, is committed to exploring challenging new music for different combinations of two saxophones.

projet 1524 Charles Larson - Headshot-683x1024     projet 1524 Emily Cox - Headshot

 

Biography

Mothertongue Ensemble, composed of Boston-based saxophonists Emily Cox and Charles Larson, is committed to exploring challenging new music for different combinations of two saxophones.

More informations

Emily Cox and Charles Larson, saxophonists based out of the Boston area, formed their Mothertongue Ensemble with a plan to explore the contemporary repertoire for two saxophones and with a hope to expand that repertoire. To that end, they are delving into Christian Lauba’s two etudes for saxophone duo, Ars and Massaï, both of which are helping to establish new levels of virtuosic ensemble playing and lay the groundwork for music yet to come.

The saxophone duo does not have a long history or a large repertory, but it is growing in popularity due to its virtuosic potential. The two pieces selected for this program, Christian Lauba’s Ars (1996) and Massaï (2010), span almost fifteen years of saxophone music history; in those fifteen years, Lauba’s music has become a cornerstone of the serious saxophone repertoire. Ars and Massaï are natural choices to showcase the contemporary saxophone duo.

Although the two works share a composer, each piece presents a very different sound world. Lauba begins Ars with strong dance rhythms and many parallel fourths and fifths to evoke the ars nova style of the late middle ages, and calls for a nasal tone reminiscent of a shawm or a crumhorn. Over the span of the five minute piece, Lauba rapidly transforms this medieval tune to a very contemporary sound, complete with barely audible multiphonics.

Massaï presents us with a very different aesthetic and uses the lower tessitura and mellower sound of alto and tenor saxophones. The piece is grounded by a steady beat in the tenor, which morphs and is periodically interrupted by increasingly elaborate meter changes. The complex rhythms that this groove creates with the alto is inspired by African music and requires a much more percussive use of the keys and tongue than the clear melodies of Ars. For many saxophonists, Christian Lauba’s music is the foundation of contemporary saxophone literature, thus we have made his works for two saxophones the foundation of our duo repertoire.

Programming

12/07/2015 09:45 - 10:15

Cité de la musique et de la danse - Salle 23

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Musicians / speakers

  • Cox Emily / Soprano and tenor saxophones (United States)
  • Larson Charles / Soprano and alto saxophones (United States)

Program

  • Ars (Christian Lauba)
  • Massaï (Christian Lauba)

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