The PRISM Quartet will produce a recording on Innova (distributed worldwide by Naxos) dedicated to the memory of Lee Hyla (1952-2014), a dearly missed friend whose beautiful saxophone quartet, Paradigm Lost, will form the title track. The recording will feature all-world premiere recordings of PRISM commissions by many of the nation’s most prominent composers, as follows:
Winner of the Stoeger Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize, Lee Hyla (b. 1952) composed Paradigm Lost (12 minutes) for PRISM in 2004 with support from Chamber Music America. Hyla: “Paradigm Lost is in one continuous movement and explores the contrast between quiet, delicate, recessive music, and more aggressive takes on what, down deep, is similar material. The attempts to resolve these different takes, or the failure to resolve them, are at the heart of the piece.”
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, Bernard Rands (b. 1934) composed Prism (Memo 6b) (10 minutes) for PRISM in 2008. Rands: “The work addresses contemporary virtuosity and expressive capacities, and explores a wide range of the saxophone’s associations and characteristics from singing, lyrical, cantilena, melodic lines to energetic, driving, rhythmic, passages.”
Winner of the Rome Prize and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, David Rakowski (b. 1958) composed Compass (19 minutes) in 2010 as part of a consortium commissioning project led by PRISM with nine other saxophone quartets. Rakowski: “W is about notes passed antiphonally through the group under a torrent of brief jazz licks; N is a jazz scherzo that is about quick handoffs of quick gestures and tight scoring; S is a slow movement that draws long melodies out phrases that begin simply with octave leaps; and E is a take-no-prisoners finale about repeated notes and gestures that explode out of them.”
Winner of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA, Chen Yi composed Not Alone (18 minutes) for PRISM and Nai Ni Chen Dance Company in 2014 with support from New Music USA. The work explores the realm of identity, independence and introspection. It is inspired by a famous Tang Dynasty Poem by Li Bai, “Drinking Alone Under the Moon.”
The CD will also include premiere recordings of two short compositions not commissioned by PRISM: Squeeze (3.5 minutes), a work composed in 2007 by Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist Augusta Read Thomas; and an excerpt of the orchestra work Fearful Symmetries (4 minutes), composed by Pulitzer and Grammy Award winner John Adams in 1988 and adapted for sax quartet by PRISM’s Tim McAllister in 2012 under Adams’ direction.
The project is essential to the PRISM Quartet’s mission, “To disseminate contemporary music for saxophones by presenting the PRISM Quartet in commissioning, performing, residency/outreach, and recording programs.” These pieces represent each composer’s first work for saxophone quartet. Together, they explore an astounding range of approaches to composition, profoundly expanding the saxophone’s sound world through remarkable creativity and rigor. The project will enable PRISM to share these compositions with world.
Paradigm Lost will be recorded in 6/2015; edited in 7-8/2015, mixed in 9/2015. Artwork/design and linter notes will be prepared in 9-10/2015. The CD will be released, marketed/publicized in February 2016.