I have often wondered what kind of music would Johann-Sebastian Bach compose if he were alive today and, in this case, what would he write for a such a versatile instrument as the baritone saxophone. Would he create works influenced by traditional music or, on the other hand, he would experience in the rich sound palette of this instrument? As we never know the answer, I thought that the best way to have an idea would be to play his music together with other works of current styles.

About 300 years ago, between 1717 and 1723, when Bach was the composer and conductor of Prince Leopold Court in Köthen (Germany), he wrote some of his most representative instrumental works. Many of them continue to be references today because of their technical progress and style evolution, as his six suites for cello solo. As a tribute to this music that has been with me for a long time, I chose one movement of each of these suites preserving the original structure, keys and lines, with the intention that the audience could appreciate the affinities between these two apparently different instrument as the cello and the baritone saxophone.

The work by Fernando Lerman, composed between 2001 and 2008, arose in a moment that this Argentinian saxophonist and composer was studying the Cello Suites by Bach. After writing “Saxoneón”, he set out to complete an original suite for saxophone solo by making a kind of music portrait of some of his closest colleagues by mixing Argentinian traditional air and dances with tango and jazz.

In 2018, I participated as a musician at the Composition and Sound Experimentation Workshop at Festival Mixtur Barcelona, one of the most important new music festivals in Spain. There, I had the chance to work with young composers from all over the world and premiered some of those short pieces they composed for baritone saxophone. Later, I made a selection of the pieces I liked the most and proposed their composers (in alphabetical order: Isabel Benito, Florent Caron Darras, Hakki Cengiz Eren, Daniel Muñoz-Osorio and Demián Rudel) to make this interesting and stunning compilation.

Joan Martí-Frasquier
Barcelona, February 2022

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