Serenade - Music for Saxophone & Piano - AVAILABLE NOW - CLICK TO ORDER
Praise for Serenade
"...intense songs of the heart capturing the very essence of music's humanity and striving passion...pure joy for the ears..."
"...something that will be grandly enjoyed by listeners looking for some music with depth that isn’t impenetrable."
"...igniting the romantic potential of the saxophone-piano combination..."
Music & Vision Daily
“The wide-range, yet warm and vibrant tone of Horner demonstrates what a fine sound the saxophone can produce in classical chamber music.”
"Horner's newest album is honest, heartfelt, sincere and touching. Simple and beautiful."
Earl V. Moore Professor of Saxophone
The University of Michigan
“These compositions for saxophone and piano (and for each of those instruments unaccompanied) evoke both the 19th and 20th centuries in their emotional directness, but also exhibit plenty of harmonic sophistication. Highly recommended to any collection serving users who may need to be reminded that there's still lots of good tonal music waiting to be written.”
CD HOTLIST – February, 2009
SHEET MUSIC for Serenade - Music for Saxophone & Piano AVAILABLE NOW at www.mzacharyjohnson.com
A New Take on New Music FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Serenade—Music for Saxophone & Piano Ushers in “Twenty-first Century Romanticism”
October 1, 2008—New York, NY & Nashville,TN—Sound Artist Records is pleased to announce the October 14, 2008 release of Serenade—Music for Saxophone & Piano. Serenade features saxophonist Brian Horner and pianist Elizabeth Avery performing music by M. Zachary Johnson. The product of a nearly ten-year collaboration between artists and composer, Serenade presents an important body of new repertoire for the youngest of classical instruments. The style of the music is neither traditional, nor jazz, nor contemporary avant-garde, but something entirely fresh which has been described as “Twenty-first Century Romanticism.”
Serenade—Music for Saxophone & Piano will be available at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com, and select physical retail outlets as well as at all major digital retailers including iTunes.
What is truly unusual about this album is that the collaboration between composer and saxophonist has resulted in not just one new work, but an entire collection of new works for the instrument. In a unique and seamless collection, the album contains the world-premiere studio recordings of five pieces for alto saxophone and piano, one for solo alto saxophone and one for solo piano.
Horner, Avery and Johnson’s unique performer-composer relationship has resulted in the premieres of more than ten new works for saxophone. They have presented concerts at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall and New York City's Mannes College of Music, as well as at the Glimmerglass Opera's Young Artist recital series in Cooperstown, NY. In July 2006 the trio released Saxophone Music of M. Zachary Johnson—Live at Steinway Hall, following a successful set of premieres at the legendary venue. In reviewing the CD, Saxophone Journal praises Horner's “warm, vibrant sound”, comments that he and Avery “create a wonderful fabric for M. Zachary Johnson’s music” and hails the music as “a very valuable addition to the saxophone's repertoire.” The album rose to become a “Top Seller” at premier online retailer CD Baby during August 2006.
In a genre defined by the avant-garde, and by the stretching of the saxophone’s technical boundaries, this group of musicians produces music that is firmly rooted in melodic, tonal beauty. “I’ve studied and performed the entire spectrum of the saxophone repertoire,” says Horner, “and I just keep returning to the music that is artistically meaningful to me. I’m concerned that too many classical saxophonists are committed to the performance of avant-garde new music—for which there is a very limited audience—simply because that is what classical saxophonists do. It feels good to step out of that mainstream and make an album that not only feels right to me, but that I think will resonate with all sorts of listeners—both academic and non-academic.” Johnson agrees—“Academics will sometimes dismiss my compositions as merely 'traditional' or 'derivative.' My music does not conform to today’s avant-garde experimentalism. But why should I abandon my own artistic voice for the sake of what academia regards as ‘progressive’ and ‘innovative’? I have my own concept of originality.”
Horner, Avery and Johnson hold degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music. Horner now teaches at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN; Johnson teaches in the preparatory division of the Mannes College of Music in New York; and Avery is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Eastman School of Music. Though they now live in different parts of the country, their collaboration continues. They are planning concerts through this year and 2009 that will feature selections from the album as well as other repertoire, performed in a casual atmosphere with discussion and dialogue between composer, performers and audience.
M. Zachary Johnson is also releasing a book of sheet music that includes saxophone and piano parts for all of the compositions on the Serenade album. The book is available through the composer’s website.