The Asylum Quartet's debut release consists of music from around the world from Russian icon Alexander Glazunov, Irishman Ian Wilson, and Guillermo Lago, the alter ego of Dutch musician Willem van Merwijk.
Three short selections from Glazunov’s groundbreaking saxophone quartet show the consummate skill of the Russian Romantic, from the choral scoring of a Russian melody to subsequent variations, the first in the style of Chopin and the second in a rousing finale.
The fourth movement of Ian Wilson’s Heaven Lay Close is a tribute to Indian classical music with drones, long meandering melodies, and a symmetrical but irregular time signature. Originally written for tablas and string quartet, it appears here in the composer’s version for saxophone quartet.
The final three movements by Guillermo Lago are autonomous musical descriptions of the composer’s travels. Cordoba is a soaring trip through the Andalusian capital, while Sarajevo is a reflection, in turn meditative and passionate, on the war-torn city. Addis Ababa concludes the album with a whirlwind trip through northern Africa, featuring each instrument of the quartet in virtuosic solos.