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(1989) The Amsterdam Saxophone Quartet: West Side Story
"Leonard Bernstein and the “West Side Story”
It was his music for “West Side Story” that made Leonard Bernstein, who was born in 1918 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, world famous. This American is very capable in many fields: an excellent pianist, one of the major conductors of his age, an essayist, a celebrated educationalist who was shown millions of people in his music programes for radio and television ( Young People’s Concerts) how to enjoy classical music, and finally a first rate composer with works covering a broad field.

Bernstein wrote 4 musicals. The idea for “West Side Story” - to make a modern version of the circumstances behind Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” - was suggested to him in 1949 by the choreographer Jerome Robbins.

It was not until the beginning of 1957 that Bernstein could find time to give final musical form to the theme theme elaborated in the libretto of Arthur Lawrence and the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim.

The first performance was in New York City at the Winter Garden on 26th September 1957. After Bernstein had increased the orchestra significantly and had to introduced several alterations to the score and staging, a film was made of it in 1961 by Robert Wise in corporation with the Robbins already mentioned. After the film version, starring Natalie Wood ( who died much much too young), the musical achieved general and international acclaim. Bernstein’s reputation as a composer had been established once and for all.

The story of this musical takes place in the last months of summer in Manhattan,New York City. The “Jets” a gang of New York teenagers, and the “Sharks” a group of young Puerto Ricans, struggle with each other for the supremacy.
The joint founder of the “Jets”, Tony, falls in love with the sister of the head of the “Sharks”, Maria.
Just as Romeo and Juliet, they have to keep their love a secret. During the fight Maria’s brother is killed by Tony. The arrival of the police prevents any conclusion to the fight and they all flee. Tony goes into hiding, afraid of the revenge of the “Sharks”. False information - Maria’s murder - brings him out of his hiding place. He finds Maria alive and well - but is shot dead by a “Shark”. Maria holds the dead Tony in her arms and it seems as though both gangs have been drawn closer together by such tragic circumstances, and this gives promise to the future.

Bernstein has thus created a musical that is superior in its type. As far weight and importance are concerned it could well be an opera. At same time the use of the technique of “musical comedy” gives an added dimension. Bernstein has achieved a mixture of acting, music and dance, a kind of all-round theatre. That means that “ West Side Story” is as at home in the opera House as it is on Broadway.

The swirling ballets are delight, the rhythmic numbers and the moving lyrics make an overwhelming impression which is sustained throughout. The whole thing has a strong thematic unity, whereas the rhythmic subtlety with its jazz syncopation is a challenge to any musician.
For that reason alone a transcription for saxophone quartet is to be expected." By Chris Visser

(1989) The Amsterdam Saxophone Quartet
The Amsterdam Saxophone Quartet was founded in 1979.
Their repertoire compromises many works from the classical saxophone literature.
They also have inspired contemporary composers to write new works.
A large number of compositions have been specially dedicated to the Amsterdam Saxophone Quartet.
The Quartet has given concerts at home and abroad, including a successful tour in Indonesia, as well performing for radio and television and making records.
In addition to chamber music performances the ensemble dedicates itself to other aspects of music activity, which has led to this recording of the West Side Story with percussion.

André Hemmers, soprano saxophone. Gained the soloist diploma from the Utrecht Conservatoire and the Prix Superieure with distinction from the Royal Conservatoire at Bruxelles.
He continues his solo career with teaching positions at the conservatoires of The Hague and Utrecht.

Rob Hauser, alto saxophone. Also gained the solo diploma from the Utrecht Conservatoire where he currently teaches. He was closely connected to the development of the modern Dutch Theater, as an actor and musician of the Hauser Orkater. He also composed music for film and ballet.

Bart Kok, tenor saxophone. Gained the performance diploma at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. He took part in several international Master Classes; was programme director of the Amsterdam Concert Radio and is also active as a teacher.

Henk van Twillert, baritone saxophone. Gained his performance diploma with distinction at the Amsterdam Conservatoire.He is a teacher at the Hilversum Conservatoire and also member of several chamber groups.

credits

released February 7, 2020

Produced by Cees Slings for Red Bullet Int. CV.
Arrangements by Henk Huizinga
Digitaly recorded at Bullet Sound Studio’s in April 1989.
Mixed at Bullet Sound Studio’s in May 1989.
Recorded and mixing engineer Han Nuyten.

Bullet Sound Studio managing and planning: Janny de Jong.
Digital editing and mastering by Roddy de Hilster at studio Dick van Schuppen, Veenendaal.
Cover artwork by John Verberk.
Cover photography by Henk Brandsen.
Cover concept by Cees Slings.
Styling by Rob Hauser and Arianne Molenbeek.
Studio Photography by Freek Arriëns.
Financial support by KLEENEX

The Amsterdam Saxophone Quartet plays on YAMAHA saxophones.
All instruments by YAMAHA MUSIC BENELUX BV
Thanks To Gerard Koning, Jan Uding and Leo-Peter van Aerde.
This CD was recorded with Digital microphones by SENNHEISER.
Thanks to Dick Linder
Music Copier’s: Achim Hartman and Gert-Jan van den Dolder
Translations: Veronica Schäfer-Shute and Malcolm Morton.

Guests Musicians: Fredrike de Winter | Titia Bal |Jan Stavenuiter | Theo Tollenaar | Joep Everts

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Henk van Twillert Netherlands

Henk van Twillert is a versatile saxophonist who plays his baritone, in such a way it goes through vaines and touches the soul! His genre is diverse; Classic, World Music, Jazz and many other styles are part of his oeuvre. Playing solo, with an orchestra, with the Vento do Norte Saxophone Ensemble, with the quartet or with the piano; in a small church or a city theatre, everything is possible. ... more

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