Kerem Hasan Conductor
Jess Gilliam Saxophone
Leonard Bernstein Suite from “West Side Story
Barbara Thompson Concerto for three saxophones
Dmitri Shostakovich Suite from the opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” op. 29 (1934)
(arrangement by James Conlon, 1991)
She plays Bach and Bowie, Shostakovich and Kate Bush, and hosts her own weekly classical music show on BBC Radio 3: Jess Gilliam is not only an enormous virtuoso on the saxophone, she is a passionate ambassador for her instrument.
Here she plays John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto, one of the few concertos for her instrument and orchestra. It is all the more captivating for that – no wonder, since Adams’ father was a saxophonist and thus a direct inspiration for his son’s compositions. Shostakovich’s opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk”, on the other hand, had a hard time.
Euphorically celebrated by the audience, the work was soon banned by Stalin for flimsy reasons and disappeared into a drawer for decades. It is fortunate that it found its way back into the music world, because wit, tempo and an almost unbelievable variety of musical means make this music an experience to this day.