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From Anna Magdalena's notebook : saxophone quartet

by Elena Kats-Chernin (2007, this version: 2015)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Nexas Saxophone Quartet from the CD Current

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Current / Nexas Quartet.

Library shelf no. CD 2851 [Not for loan]

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Work Overview

When the fabulous players of the Australian String Quartet asked me to write a piece for the quartet, I had the privilege to listen to their playing in a concert soon after this request. I was more than impressed by their concert in November 2006 and it was then, on the evening of the concert that I realised that for this piece I was interested in an unromantic, dry, crisp and light sound. Somehow the thought of going to Anna Magdalena Bach's Notebook seemed appealing to me. I had previously worked with two-part inventions of J. S. Bach and the never-ending pool of inspiration was in this Notebook no less apparent. Few things played a role here: Anna Magdalena, singer, wife, mother was a superwoman in the Bach household, taking care of J. S. Bach and many children, looking after students, guest musicians passing through and at the same time keeping up the high role that the music played in their lives. Bach gave her Clavierbuechlein in 1725 which he started with two partitas, the rest was gathered over years. So, in fact it is not always J. S. Bach himself who wrote all the pieces. Sometimes they were written by his sons or by students or friends.
I decided to choose the ones that I liked the most. And also the ones which would work in contrast with each other. The way I worked with the material was to give the original piece a chance to sound recognizable, at the same time giving it an impetus to change direction.

Work Details

Year: 2007, this version: 2015

Instrumentation: Soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone.

Duration: 16 min.

Arranged for saxophone quartet by Michael Duke.


Resonate article: Bach on Speed by Kirsty Guster

Resonate article: Nexas Quartet: Australian sounds for saxophones (and bicycle bells) by Samuel Cottell

Performances of this work

25 Mar 2022: at MSO: Bach and Beamish (Costa Hall). Featuring Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sophie Rowell.

24 Mar 2022: at MSO: Bach and Beamish (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Sophie Rowell, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

23 May 2021: at Flinders Quartet - Phantasy (Montsalvat). Featuring Flinders Quartet.

15 May 2021: at Flinders Quartet - Phantasy (St John's Anglican Church (Flinders)). Featuring Flinders Quartet.

26 Apr 2021: at The Ashes (Blackheath Community Centre, Phillips Hall). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

10 Jun 2020: at Current (Live streaming event (online only)). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

13 Sep 2019: at Inner-City Counterpoints (Recital Hall East).

9 Dec 2018: at Allegri Chamber Orchestra (St Paul's Anglican Church (Beaconsfield WA)). Featuring Allegri Chamber Orchestra.

21 Jul 2018: at Opus Australia (Albany Entertainment Centre). Featuring Burhan Guner, Albany Chamber Orchestra.

24 May 2018: at Nexas Quartet: Current (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

17 May 2018: at Portraits at an Exhibition (National Portrait Gallery). Featuring SCM Saxophone Orchestra.

10 Sep 2017: at MSO (Quartet) Plays Kats-Chernin (Iwaki Auditorium). Featuring Rohan de Korte, Elizabeth Woolnough, Michelle Ruffolo, Eleanor Mancini.

19 Aug 2017: at Muscle Memory: Reflex (Brisbane Powerhouse). Featuring Collusion.

17 Aug 2017: at Muscle Memory: Reflex (Brisbane Powerhouse). Featuring Collusion.

31 Jul 2017: at AFCM 2017: Concert Conversations with Piers Lane 2 (Townsville Civic Theatre). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

5 May 2017: at CIMF 2017: The Education Revolution (Canberra Grammar School (Red Hill)). Featuring Simón Bolívar String Quartet.

29 Nov 2016: at Current - Nexas Quartet (CD launch) (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

13 Nov 2016: at Albury Chamber Music Festival (Adamshurst Ballroom). Featuring Quartz.

15 May 2016: at ACACIA QUARTET present Blue Silence - string miniatures by Elena Kats-Chernin (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Acacia Quartet.

31 Aug 2012: at Halcyon (The New Hall, Sydney Grammar School). Featuring Acacia Quartet.

9 May 07: Conservatorium Theatre, Brisbane. Featuring Australian String Quartet.

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