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“This is a superb programme… the sheer brilliance of the playing will keep one enthralled… Highly recommended.”
Recording dates: August – November 2009
Recording venues: Blackheath Halls, London, Christ Church, Derry, Northern Ireland & Harrow School Concert Hall, London
Engineer & producer: Ken Blair
Liner notes: Gerard McChrystal
Release date: 10 October 2011
Total duration: 73 mins 37 secs
This brilliantly devised CD from Gerard McChrystal is a deeply personal album; at times mystical, the music is always beautiful and captivating. Indeed ‘Aria’ has similar qualities to Jan Gabarek’s ‘Officium’ (which sold 1.4 million copies) and will appeal to this fan-base. Featuring soprano and alto saxophone with a colourful array of different ensemble accompaniments — string orchestra, choir, guitar, piano, solo, string quartet and electronics. Baroque music blends seamlessly with contemporary; Handel resolves into Michael Nyman, Debussy’s Syrinx morphs into Ravel’s Piece en forme de habanera. All the tracks lead to the next by key or by starting and ending on the same note. Other works include Philip Glass Façades, Faure Les Berceaux, Bozza Aria, as well as original works by Billy Cowie, Karen Tanaka, Andy Scott and Michael McGlynn (from the vocal group Anúna who featured in Riverdance). Accompanying Gerard on this album are some of the UK’s finest classical musicians including the Smith Quartet and the No. 1 best-selling classical artist, guitarist Craig Ogden. Gerard McChrystal is a multi-award winning saxophonist who has performed as a soloist in over 30 countries with many of the World’s leading orchestras and ensembles.
Named as one of the best albums of 2011 (Classic FM Radio)
‘Connoisseurs Choice’ (Classic FM Radio)
“This is a superb programme… the sheer brilliance of the playing will keep one enthralled… Highly recommended”
“The magnificently sustained tone of the soloist, Gerard McChrystal was a treat…” (The Independent ****)
“McChrystal has an enviably full and warm soprano saxophone tone, and his intonation is as secure as his gift for melodic phrasing is unfailing.” (Gramophone Magazine)
“Derry-born saxophonist Gerard McChrystal excels in these mainly slow, reflective pieces…” (BBC Music Magazine ****)
“…a delightful collection of lyrical and melodious compositions… McChrystal’s mastery as a saxophonist, as well as his mastery as a musician, allows the music on this CD to shine brilliantly, and with great emotional feeling, providing purpose and significance to the simplest of melodies” (Saxophone Journal)