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Updated: May 27, 2010 16:42 IST

Dialogues on the sax

Harish Bal
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Takashi Saito
Special arrangement Takashi Saito

Japanese musician Takashi Saito’s saxophone concert at Kochi was a mix of traditional Japanese and contemporary Western classical music.

Melody flowed as Japanese musician and saxophonist Takashi Saito charmed the audience in Kochi with his virtuosity on the saxophone. A graduate of the Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Saito has performed in many international music festivals such as the Suntory Summer Festival and International Saxophone Congress.

Saito calls his performances contemporary, with a mix of classical and modern composers and a few selections from Japanese traditional music. He says he excels in playing classical music on the saxophone – an instrument more associated with jazz. And he adds that he hardly ever plays jazz though he appreciates the genre. Bach, he says, is his favourite composer and that he loves to listen to jazz musician John Coltrane.

Alto notes

Saito played the alto sax at the performance even though his “favourite” is the tenor sax. ‘Ripple on the Water,' a composition by Mile Anyu, utilised many silent moments interspersing them with quick, apparently trickynotes. Saito then played a version of J.S. Bach's cello number ‘Suite No. 1.' The minuets were marvellously essayed with brisk modulations.

He then moved on to a challenging sonata with long contemplative notes that was composed by Russian composer Edison Donisov. The sonorous timbre of the alto sax emerged when Saito played ‘Kyo Geng.' This was followed by Bach's ‘Prelude of Suite No.2.' The second part of the composition, which had a cadenza movement, was executed with powerful chords.

Next, he presented an improvisation of a piece by Japanese composer Ryo Noda; a piece that Noda composed for the World Sax Congress in Canada. A more innovative item came in the form of ‘An Echo of Distance' by Japanese composer Yoshifumi Tanaka. There was less melody and the plunks and hisses unfolded into what seemed to be dialogues as the music traversed along in un-rhythmic syllables.

Saito wound up the concert with a Japanese children's song, which with its simple melody, motivated the audience to clap along with the number.

The programme was organised by Kerala Fine Arts Society.


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