June in Buffalo gets a boost from quartet

Works reviewed: 
Plumb, Mara Gibson
Quartetto Classico, Luca Vanneschi
Buffalo News
Buffalo, NY
Jun 7 1999
Jan Jezioro

The members of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet were busy Sunday. After a late morning performance at the Gazebo in Forest Lawn Cemetery in conjunction with the opening of the Sculpture of the Spirit Exhibition, the Quartet performed the first two works in the second day of the 24th annual June in Buffalo Festival in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts.

"Plumb," a short work in one movement by Mara Gibson, received its world premiere. Without explanatory notes in the program, the titles were a mystery.

In "Plumb," a slow introduction was followed by held notes that were interrupted by a seven-note phrase tossed about by the four instruments. A more agitated section gave way to unison passages, followed by louder, slightly snarling phrases, the whole work effectively conveying an anticipatory sense — the long-held notes perhaps making the piece exactly vertical or "plumb."

The quartet really hit its stride in "Ouartetto Classico," a very accessible piece by Luca Vanneschi — the soprano saxophone being featured throughout. In the first movement, a song-like second subject followed the initial nervous harmonic runs, in turn giving way to a rhythmic, motor-like ending. The middle movement had echoes of Samuel Barber's "Summer Wind" quintet, while the yearning quality of the final movement was resolved with the soprano sax at peace over the unison passages of the other instruments.

June in Buffalo gets a boost from quartet