Vienna Saxophone Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Vienna Saxophone Quartet 

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The dynamic and youthful Vienna Saxophone Quartet's Chicago connection is its baritone saxophonist, Mark Engebretson, who got his master's in composition at Northwestern University in the late 80s. So this concert is sort of a homecoming for him, to a campus that boasts one of the most distinguished saxophone faculties in the world. The saxophone, invented around 1840 by Adolphe Sax, took a long time to achieve stardom, and that was in jazz; in the classical realm it has remained a supporting player, often called upon to add a little color to orchestral works. Not surprisingly, the saxophone quartet, first organized in fin-de-siecle Paris, is still outside the chamber-music mainstream (though as a performing medium it resembles the string quartet in its explorations of timbral contrasts). All of the pieces on this program were composed in the last four years, including Night Light (1993) by Northwestern's M. William Karlins, himself an avid tenor saxophonist; Mosaics (1993) by his younger colleague Craig First; and Tell No More of Enchanted Days (1992) by Engebretson. The Vienna's other members are Susan Fancher (soprano sax), Sabine Zwick (alto), and Thomas Schon (tenor). Saturday, 7:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 1977 South Campus Dr., Evanston; 708-491-5441.

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