Maxim Shalygin

composer | conductor | visual artist

Title: Todos los fuegos el fuego
Instrumentation: 8 saxophone players 
Year: 2018 - 2019
Duration: 89’
First performer: Amstel & Keuris quartets, Maxim Shalygin - conductor
Premiere: 29th June 2019, Dag in de Branding festival, Zuiderstrandtheater, Den Haag, NL

Photos & videos: Michal Grycko
Project designer: Anna Lee
Project manager: Anna Reshetniak

Buy Score: Donemus 

Commissioner: Dag in de Branding and November music festivals with financial support from the Fonds Podiumkunsten & Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst



"Wouldn’t it be too much of a good thing, one could ask in advance – a one-and-a-half-hour piece, say, a Mahler symphony, for double saxophone quartet? Shalygin, however, himself conducting, got the job done with flying colours, in an idiom in which the most diverse stylistic elements entered into a peculiar symbiosis. Endlessly rising clusters, pulsing tone tapestries in a minimalistic cut, poetic-melodic intermezzi, and a quasi-orthodox hymn running aground in a quarter-tone yowl. Assisted by the phenomenally playing Keuris and Amstel Quartets, he moulded it all into a perfectly logical, resolute discourse: There’s no other way than this." NRC Handelsblad

"Devastating, breathtaking. It’s not difficult to point out the most impressive concert in November music. That was the fiery Todos los Fuegos el Fuego, for 8 saxophones by Maxim Shalygin. Shrouded in black en barefoot, he directed the musicians with measured gestures. They played on Saturday for over an hour with almost superhuman dedication and control. The musicians also regularly switched to other saxophones, allowing the sound colours to constantly change. The music was intense, shifting from understated beauty dry rattling rhythms and harsh, brutal sounds. A stirring event, on that the listeners could all agree." Brabants Dagblad


“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: 

Amstel Quartet

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

Keuris Quartet

Evgeny Novikov - soprano saxophone
Andreas Mader - alto saxophone
Michal Grycko - tenor saxophone
Juan Manuel Dominguez -baritone saxophone

Sponsors & partners

novmus HR
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