Friday, December 4, 2009

Saxophone artist Delangle to play wide dynamic range at concert with Taipei Chinese Orchestra

By Nancy T. Lu

The Taipei Chinese Orchestra is undertaking a second recording project with the Sweden-based BIS, collaborating with the renowned saxophone artist Claude Delangle at a concert to be taped at the Zhongshan Hall in Taipei on December 5. This is following the recording success of Chung Yiu-kwong’s “Whirling Dance.”

“Sunshine on Taxkorgan for Soprano Saxophone and Chinese Orchestra” arranged by Chen Gang and orchestrated by Chung Yiu-kwong originally had violin music. Delangle has had to listen closely to the original music as well as the erhu transcription. He, too, must find the saxophone technique to replace the bowing of the string instrument.

“Imitating the original string instrument must be done in a personal way so as not to end up with a caricature,” he noted. “The crescendo and the vibrato must turn out as natural as possible on the saxophone.”

The concert repertoire with Shao En as conductor will feature a diversity of style, from traditional to contemporary. Chung Yiu-kwong’s two original selections, “Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chinese Orchestra No.1” and “Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chinese Orchestra No.2” have struck him as in between traditional and contemporary Chinese music, in fact, less like Chinese music and closer to his style. Delangle previously played the first piece with the Taipei orchestra at the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing in October this year.

Managing music in different ways, using old tools, has been Delangle’s preoccupation for some time now. With the saxophone, changing the mouth piece can turn it into a different instrument, he explained. He has certainly welcomed opportunities to play a wider dynamic range.

Also in the program is Tian Lei-lei’s “Open Secret Concerto for Saxophone and Chinese Orchestra.” This piece was commissioned by the French Culture Ministry this year.

Of the saxophone choices, the soprano saxophone goes well with the Chinese orchestra, said to have a lighter sound. Delangle pointed out that the alto saxophone has the most classical image. The tenor saxophone is associated with jazz.

The 52-year-old Delangle recalled his father wanting him to study violin. But as he put it, “I wanted to blow. I like life.”

And so he began playing the saxophone when he was nine. When he was 15, he learned that his grandfather played the soprano saxophone in his youth.

Delangle has been one of the most recorded saxophone players. He has done 15 recordings with BIS in the last 10 years.

He owns many saxophones. His collection just grows for he buys a musical instrument when he likes its sound. He has brought two to Taipei this time.

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