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Moving Along with Harvey Pittel, Saxophone

2.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 27, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Saxophone students should snap this one up. It would be a rare saxophone recital that didn't include a couple of these works, and Pittel delivers all of them with a solid, beautiful tone completely devoid of whining and technique to burn. --American Record Guide, Sept/Oct 1997

This CD is enthralling from the first attack to the final ring off of the last note. This due to the combined artistry of Harvey Pittel and Jeff Helmer. Harvey Pittel once again comes to the fore with an outstanding performance. It is easy to understand after one listening why Pittel has become a hallmark for fine performances. --Saxophone Journal, Mar/Apr 1998

Harvey Pittel's French-accented program blows a fresh breeze over tired listening patterns so why not get out your kite? --Fanfare, Sept/Oct 1997

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano: With Vigor
  2. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano: With Tranquility
  3. Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano: With Gaiety
  4. Concerto for Alto Saxophone: Recitative
  5. Concerto for Alto Saxophone: Passacaglia
  6. Concerto for Alto Saxophone: Rondo alla marcia
  7. Vocalise
  8. Concertino da Camera: Allegro con moto
  9. Concertino da Camera: Larghetto
  10. Concertino da Camera: Animato molto
  11. Tableaux de Provence: Farandole des Jeunes Filles
  12. Tableaux de Provence: Chanson pour ma Mie
  13. Tableaux de Provence: La Bohemienne
  14. Tableaux de Provence: Des Alyscamps l'Ame Soupire
  15. Tableaux de Provence: Le Cabridan
  16. Concerto 'St. Marc': Grave
  17. Concerto 'St. Marc': Allegro
  18. Concerto 'St. Marc': Andante
  19. Concerto 'St. Marc': Allegro


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Crystal Records
  • ASIN: B000003J5V
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,904 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
this cd, i think, should be used as nothing more than a source of reference recordings for aspiring saxophonists and saxophonists preparing for performances of the pieces contained herewithin. the creston is stylistically pleasing, though nothing truly outstanding. the dahl is plagued with intonation problems (especially the climax of the 2nd movement passacaglia in the altissimo register) and musical lines that don't go anywhere at all. after performing the piece over 70 times (as claimed in the liner notes) and studying it with the composer, one would expect much more from this performance. a substantially better recording of the solo line (not the accompaniment) can be found on the abilene christian university symphonic band's 1998 tmea performance on mark custom recordings (eric wilson, soloist). the vocalise suffers from similar problems of pitch. the best recording on this cd, by far, is maurice's tableaux de provence which is very stylistic and accurate, though not very musical. the ibert is appallingly lackluster, though equally shocking in its precision. the albinoni follows in the steps of the tableaux in providing an excellent recording to emulate. all but the maurice and albinoni are to be used only as templates- recordings that give the listener/aspiring performer an idea of what the piece is structured like, presenting an opportunity to form ideas and musical moments of his or her own discretion.
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Pittel's attempt to create a "benchmark" classical saxophone record is laudable. The pieces on the album are standards: Creston's Sonata, Ibert's Camera, Maurice's Tableaux, etc. The recording of this album was certainly a large undertaking, but I find several fatal flaws:
-As previously noted, Pittel's intonation is severely off in several, if not all, of the selections.
-Articulation, articulation, articulation. Where is it? Pittel's tongue is extremely heavy, and renders most of the pieces fine for background music, but not critical listening.
-Stylistic interpretation. Contrary to a previous reviewer, I find his "interpretation" of Tableaux to be wrong. To slow down in the technical passages, speed up during the slower sections, and generally play rhythms incorrectly is not the mark of a good saxophonist, let alone musician.
-This album is fine for anyone who wants to hear a mediocre saxophonist. I strongly recommend, however, Pekka Savijoki's recording of Tableaux, also available on Amazon.com. Savijoki's recording is far more accurate than Pittel's.
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Harvey Pittel's performance is excellent as always. His interpretation of the Creston Sonata differs from that of Mule in that it is slower and with (perhaps) more feeling. The Provence and the Concertina Da Camera are excellent, with a fine display of sound and technical skill. Although some critics applaud his performances as "French" in style, his full, rich sound is more "American" and combined with excellent technical skills, he provides his audience with a very pleasing experience. Highly recommended.
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Harvey Pittell self-proclaims himself as the 'essential' saxophonist. However, he has a terrible sense of pitch, strange interpretation of this very epic literature for saxophone, over-exaggerated articulations, and his altissimo is very shaky. These wonderful pieces i felt were very disgraced in this recording. It is a pity that no one has Donald Sinta's rendtion of the Dahl Concerto, it surpasses John Harle and this one by a long shot. For Paul Creston, i would recommend Marcel Mule, Eugene Rousseau, or Donald Sinta. For the Ibert, i would recommened Marcel Mule, Eugene Rousseau, John-Edward Kelly, John Harle. And of course, the essential recorindg of the Tableux de Provence, Marcel Mule. Its true some of these recordings are hard to find, but don't resort to less than average performances such as these.
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I hate to smack-talk, but i can't say i'm terribly impressed with these recordings. I think Pittel's playing (at least as I hear it on the cd) would be a lot more effective if he worked on intonation...like, a lot. It makes me cringe. also, articulation is quite offensive at times. Not very graceful.

For the Creston Sonata, I recommend recordings of Donald Sinta, Arno Borkamp, and Eugene Rousseau.
Ibert: Arno Bornkamp did a swell rendition of this on the album "A Saxophone in Paris".
For the Dahl Concerto, check out Joseph Lullof.
Maurice's Tableaux: Look for Claude DeLangle's album entitled "A la Francaise"
Vocalise: Try to find recordings by Joseph Lullof, Arno Bornkamp, and also look for good vocal recordings.

I feel that Harvey Pittel is indeed very overated in the classical saxophone world in the same way Kenny G is in the "jazz" saxophone world...well maybe that's not such a great parallel. Hopefully you get what I'm saying, though.
And for those of you who are defending Pittel's playing...be truthful please. And for that person who said he's the greatest classical saxophone player alive, you obviously haven't heard much good classical saxophone playing, or there's something wrong with your ears (no offense).
I really wonder how Mr. Pittel was able to get as far as he did....
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