Saxophonist Joonatan Rautiola’s recording is named after Tuomas Turriago’s Sonata for alto saxophone and piano, Gravity Groove, completed 2018 and based on an earlier piece by the same name. Pairing the Turriago Sonata with Debussy’s Rapsodie for piano and saxophone (1901–1911) highlights the common traits in these two works, especially lingering Impressionist melodies and relaxed dance rhythms – the finale in Turriago’s four-movement Sonata is an apotheosis of the latter.
Rautiola’s and pianist Marko Hilpo’s duo plays with enjoyable precision and sensitivity. The lyrical qualities of the saxophone come to the fore, as also in Paule Maurice’s Tableaux de Provence (1948–1955), an atmospheric and richly sounding suite in five movements, here in a version for saxophone and piano.
Charles Wuorinen’s Divertimento for alto saxophone and piano (1982) appears as a cubist continuation of the same tradition, whereas Mozart’s Trio in E-flat major, “the Kegelstatt Trio,” in an arrangement by Rautiola, appears stylistically detached from the other works. However, the performance, with Barbora Hilpo on the viola, is beautifully balanced and well consistent with the fresh and bright atmosphere on the recording. The saxophone is a mellow substitute for the original clarinet.
Joonatan Rautiola, alto saxophone; Marko Hilpo, piano; Barbora Hilpo, viola
Debussy, Turriago, Maurice, Wuorinen, Mozart
Ars Produktion, ARS 38 569