La Creation du Monde / Delangle, Lindberg

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Milhaud’s La création du Monde used to be quite popular, at least on disc, but it seems to have vanished from the discography recently, at least until now. Christian Lindberg has assembled a varied and interesting program built around Milhaud’s jazz ballet masterpiece, and featuring solo saxophonist Claude Delangle. He’s featured in a splendid performance of Paul Creston’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Band (another unfairly neglected work), Roger Boutry’s really charming Divertimento for Alto Saxophone and Winds, John Williams’ rather commercial Catch Me If You Can, and the obligatory Piazzolla arrangement (Escualo).

The Swedish Wind Ensemble by itself stars in Anders Emilsson’s witty and harmonically entertaining Salute the Band, and in the Milhaud, which receives a performance of exceptional virtuosity, but also extreme mellowness. At the opening the sound is simply gorgeous, but as the work proceeds it would have been nice to hear a more “dirty” sound from the ensemble. Today’s players are so technically adept that they can do anything smoothly, but there are times when the music demands a certain edge that’s not generously evident here.

It’s not a huge problem, to be honest, especially when the program is so much fun, and BIS’s engineering is absolutely demonstration quality. In context, the playing is all of a piece, and it’s pretty excellent.

-- David Hurwitz,


Here’s a colorful, sophisticated program showcasing the marvelous alto saxophonist Claude Delangle, who’s collaborated with Piazzolla, Boulez, Berio, Takemitsu, and Salonen and who has been singled out for praise on MusicWeb International before. His new album with the Swedish Wind Ensemble is consistently ear-catching.
The appetizer is a suite of three numbers from John Williams’ film score Catch Me If You Can, one of my favorites of Williams - it avoids cliché and captures the movie’s spirit well. Then it’s on to the title work, Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde. Delangle is absent, but some friends of the players join for the string parts. It’s a delightful, jazzy performance with spirited solos.
Roger Boutry’s Divertimento for saxophone and band has a seductive French swagger and incredible songlike slow movement which make its appeal instant. Boutry arranged the piece for this recording; it was originally for sax and strings, and the rescoring includes great touches like muted trumpets in the andante.
The introduction to Paul Creston’s concerto makes it sound like the American response to Khachaturian (xylophone!), but the solo saxophonist’s lyrical instincts take over the proceedings, including a great duet with flutes. The finale is bursting with wit; it feels like something I know and love and can’t quite put my finger on.
Anders Emilsson’s Salute the Band is the odd piece out, a mosaic of ideas: some pulsate, some clash, some have Elgarian pomp, some are tense, some are grindingly dissonant … and Piazzolla’s Escualo is a wonderful encore.
With good sound and BIS’s usual classy presentation - although this is not an SACD hybrid - I find this absurdly easy to welcome. Anyone interested in the saxophone or jazzy, snappy modern repertoire will find much to enjoy. It’s a cosmopolitan, sophisticated album to put on while enjoying a glass of red wine and some witty conversation.
-- Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International 

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: BIS-1640

  • UPC: 7318590016404

  • Label: BIS

  • Composer: Anders Emilsson, Astor Piazzolla, Darius Milhaud, John Williams, Paul Creston, Roger Boutry

  • Conductor: Christian Lindberg

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Swedish Wind Ensemble

  • Performer: Claude Delangle