Maxim Shalygin

composer / conductor

Title: Todos los fuegos el fuego
Instrumentation: 8 saxophone players 
Year: 2018
Duration: 70’
First performer: Amstel & Keuris quartets
Premiere: 29th June 2019, Dag in de Branding festival, Zuiderstrandtheater, Den Haag, NL

Commissioner: Dag in de Branding and November music festivals with financial support from the Fonds Podiumkunsten.

Buy Score: Donemus 

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“Todos los fuegos el fuego” is a musical cycle that immerses the listener for one hour in a mystical act, sparking off the imagination and opening up unknown emotional conditions.

“Todos los fuegos el fuego” for saxophone octet constitutes a mysterious and exciting link between music and literature. For the second chapter of the life-long Similar cycle (where the first one is: “Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs” for 7 violins) , Shalygin draws inspiration from “Todos los fuegos el fuego”, arguably the most enigmatic book by the great Cortázar. All short stories in this collection share an exit into a parallel, magic reality, sometimes near to ours, sometimes strikingly different from it. Their forms provoke peculiar musical dramaturgic solutions, whereas an abundance of pseudo-musical forms enables for the creation of a unique atmosphere, using an enlarged variety of performance techniques.

Suite’s overall structure consists of eight parts, performed by eight saxophone players — as many as there are stories in the book (and syllables in its title, which, incidentally, sounds like a saxophone phrase by itself). The saxophone is chosen for a reason, since, for all his knowledge and passion for music, jazz claimed the most of Cortázar’s attention. Jazz, and accordingly the sound of the saxophone was his muse and constant presence in many of his most well-known fiction. Moreover, the saxophone is involved in many mystical moments in music, literature, and, last but not least, cinema — a fascination I share with him as well.

This project combines two extraordinary quartets: 

by Michal Grycko

Amstel Quartet

Remco Jak – soprano saxophone
Olivier Sliepen – alto saxophone
Bas Apswoude – tenor saxophone
Harry Cherrin – baritone saxophone

Chameleonic and passionate, that would be the best way to describe the four saxophonists that make up the Amstel Quartet. Whether it is old music or the very latest sounds, pop music, jazz, classical or world music – once you hear the Amstel Quartet play, all borders between these genres simply fade away. Technical limitations appear non-existent and musical boundaries are there merely to be crossed.

This adventurous attitude has brought the foursome a multitude of admirers worldwide. And justifiably so, because a performance by the Amstel Quartet has the thrilling energy of a pop concert. The quartet takes you along on a breath-taking and moving journey time and again. It is not without reason that the Dutch press has dubbed the Amstel Quartet ‘The most colourful saxophone quartet in the world.’

The Amstel Quartet frequently wins awards. The Concert Artists Guild Management Award, the Kersjes Prize and the Gaudeamus International Interpreters Award are just a few examples of the quartet’s international acclaim.

Keuris Quartet

Evgeny Novikov - soprano saxophone
Michal Grycko - alto saxophone
Kirstin Niederstraßer - tenor saxophone
Juan Manuel Dominguez -baritone saxophone

The Keuris Quartet (KQ) is an international saxophone quartet, specializing in the interpretation of classical contemporary music. After winning First Prize at the inaugural Strasbourg International Saxophone Quartet Competition in 2015, KQ gained international recognition and is considered as one of the brightest saxophone quartets performing today.

As graduates of the Conservatory of Amsterdam and former students of legendary saxophone teacher Arno Bornkamp, these four young saxophonists, from different parts of the world, were united by their passion for performing contemporary music. Founded in 2013, the Quartet was named after Dutch composer Tristan Keuris (1946-1996), whose oeuvre includes two highlights of the contemporary saxophone quartet repertoire.

The main aim of the quartet is to bring contemporary music to a broader audience by placing their program into a context that makes the music and its emotions easy to perceive. Great examples of such a context are their projects ‘’War & Peace’’ (Grachtenfestival 2015, Amsterdam), and “Sound of Running” (Festival Classique, The Hague 2014, in collaboration with Fake-duo and Dagmar Slagmolen). In May 2017, KQ won the Second Prize a the prestigious M-Prize International Chamber Arts Competition in Ann-Arbor, MI (USA). Since 2016, KQ is regularly performing and giving workshops at the Gaudeamus Music Week (Utrecht, NL) as well as Singapore Saxophone Symposium. The Quartet is in a close partnership with the Mahidol University School of Music in Salaya (Thailand), where they give master-classes for young saxophonists.

CD recording_TLFEF for 8 saxophone players

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