Ebonit Saxophone Quartet

The Last Words of Christ

Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917270129
Catnr: CC 72701
Release date: 03 February 2016
1 CD
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72701
Release date
03 February 2016

""The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet has a impressive sound and delivers here with rotating and pure interplay an even ambitious as imposant debute. The arranged strinking Sieben letzten Worte from Joseph Haydn forms the spine of this wonderfull album, with a special involvement from Claron McFadden.""

Edison Nomination, 19-10-2016

About the album

Ebonit Saxophone Quartet: Our debut CD is a combination of the "Seven Last Words" from Haydn with XXcentury music. The piece of Haydn is a basis of the whole program and the special and unique thing is that we replaced some of the movements with pieces by Reger, Webern, Sibelius and Schostakovich. Those pieces are fitting in the tonal and dramatic dramatic progression of the whole Seven Last Words. In the original oratorio version there is a short text which is read before every piece/track. We chose for the putting this text in the recording is, to set the mood for every movement of the piece and to give sort of guidline throughout the entire piece. The listener after litening to the text read by Claron will get sort of information, introduction and we suppose that is going to listen to it in a different way. We "invite" a listener to reflect of certain values like love, pain, suffering, which are part of everyones life and are the main thematic of the Seven Last Words. All the pieces except Webern are arranged by members of the quartet which is a very special aspect. Those are arrangements done specially for our formation, adjusted for us. (First we arrange the score and then while working on it together we adapt things which fit for us) Played on the saxophone quartet pieces which are mainly for string quartet gives a new, fresh, innovative way of listening to it.

The choral texts form the foundations and framework of this special cycle that has been assembled by the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet. Singer and voice artist Claron McFadden takes on the ‘role’ of the Bishop and the four saxophones provide musical meditations on the spoken word. The music being performed includes three movements from Haydn’s cycle and four compositions from much later dates: Nachtlied (1914) by Max Reger, Langsamer Satz (1905) by Anton Webern, the third movement of Voces Intimae (1909) by Jean Sibelius and the third movement of the Seventh String Quartet (1960) by Dmitri Shostakovich. Haydn concluded the cycle with the horrifying Il terremoto (the Earthquake) but in this cycle we hear the agitated music of Shostakovich. The pieces by Reger, Webern and Sibelius are permeated respectively by feelings of contemplation, yearning and intense grief; moods that comprehensively encapsulate the impact of the words from the Cross.
Een unieke combinatie van Hadyn en 20e-eeuwse muziek
Dit album bevat de opname van een origineel project van het Ebonit Saxofoonkwartet: een gloednieuwe bewerking voor saxofoon van Haydns Zeven Laatste Woorden van Jezus Christus aan het Kruis, met toevoeging van muziek uit de 20e eeuw. De beroemde sopraan Claron McFadden citeert de woorden voorafgaand aan elk deel. Op 13 februari 2016 gaf het kwartet een concert met dit programma in Amsterdam.

De bewerkingen van alle composities, op die van Webern na, zijn door de leden van het kwartet zelf geschreven. Deze bewerkingen geven een frisse en innovatieve interpretatie aan de werken, die uitnodigt om op een nieuwe manier te luisteren.

Ebonit Saxofoonkwartet schreef over dit album: "Ons debuutalbum is een combinatie van de Zeven Laatste Woorden van Haydn met 20e-eeuwse muziek. Het werk van Haydn vormt de basis van het programma. Het bijzondere aan dit programma is dat we sommige delen hebben vervangen door werken van Reger, Webern, Sibelius en Schostakovich. Deze werken passen binnen de tonale en dramatische progressie van de Zeven Laatste Woorden als geheel. In de originele versie wordt er voor elk deel een korte tekst opgezegd. We hebben deze teksten opgenomen op het album, omdat ze de stemming van elk deel aangeven, en omdat ze aanwijzingen bevatten voor de luisteraars. We nodigen de luisteraar uit om na te denken over liefde, pijn en lijden; de thema’s van de Zeven Laatste Woorden, die deel uitmaken van ieders leven."
Für ihr Debüt stellt das Ebonit Saxophone Quartet Haydns 'Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze' ins Zentrum und ergänzen es mit Werken des 20. Jahrhunderts und den Originaltexten gelesen von Claron McFadden.


The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet is a sparkling and inspired ensemble founded in 2011 at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. The four musicians had quickly made for themselves a name in the Netherlands and abroad, performing in major halls as well as in international festivals, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht, the Bachtage in Würzburg, Germany and the World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews, Scotland.

The Ebonit Quartet has received fi rst prize at international competitions such as the “Ottomani Competition“ in Den Bosch (2012) and the “Who’s Next Chamber Music Competition“ in Almere (2015). In the 2016/17 season the quartet will tour throughout the Netherlands as a laureate of the national competition “Dutch Classical Talent“. In addition, they will tour with their music theater program for children produced by Stichting Oorkaan. Since 2015, the Ebonit Quartet has been a Selmer-Artist.

Having studied together in the class of Arno Bornkamp in Amsterdam, the quartet has continued its studies in the Masters program of the Netherlands String Quartet Academy (NSKA) with Marc Danel, Stefan Metz and Sven Arne Tepl. Furthermore, the quartet has attended masterclasses from renowned pedagogues such as Eberhard Feltz, Gerhard Schulz, the members of the Artemis Quartet, Heime Müller, Luc-Marie Aguera and Albrecht Mayer.


"The Ebonit Saxophone Quartet has a impressive sound and delivers here with rotating and pure interplay an even ambitious as imposant debute. The arranged strinking Sieben letzten Worte from Joseph Haydn forms the spine of this wonderfull album, with a special involvement from Claron McFadden."
Edison Nomination , 19-10-2016

"A beautiful debut of Ebonit Saxophone Quartet."
Mania, 08-4-2016

" [...] The plays are all more than magnificant [...] "
Luister, 08-4-2016

"[...] not only does the company play extraordinary homogeen and exciting, the reportoire choose on 'the last words of christ' is remarkable for a debut-cd. [...]"
Klassieke Zaken, 01-4-2016

Klassieke Zaken, 01-4-2016

"The three remaining pieces of Hadyn something make less of an impression, already arouses their intimate, honest approach but more and more sympathy."
Luister Magazine, 01-4-2016

In plaatpaal Radio 4
NPO Radio 4, 31-3-2016

"Its gripping music, which evokes deeply religious and at the same time universal human feelings beautifully through the much younger, twentieth-century works. Jesus' last words on the cross are there to stay, certainly in this version of the Ebonit Saxophone Quartett. We will hear alot from them."
Kerk en Leven, 23-3-2016

"The young musicians control their instruments to perfection and they have learned to play together."
Friesch Dagblad, 22-3-2016

CD of the Week Radio 4
Radio 4 CD van de Week, 21-3-2016

" [...] The alternation works very well, all the more so because Ebonit gives solid interpretations, with a glowing harmony and beautiful solos [...] "
NRC Handelsblad, 14-3-2016

"About the choice of performing music by Reger, Webern, Sibelius and Shostakovich they have thought that out thoroughly and play these quite well."
De Gelderlander, 09-3-2016

''One ensemble after the other is debuting! Barely used to the beautiful sound of the Berlage Saxophone Quartet, the next great ensemble from the Amsterdam Conservatorium class of Arno Bornkamp which is juggling with their four reeds. On their debut-album they appear to be capable of everything.''
De Volkskrant, 24-2-2016

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