Asya Fateyeva’s artistic versatility is reflected in her wide range of concert programmes and ensembles that she is very passionate about.
The Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach BWV 988 in addition to works by Astor Piazzolla, Manuel de Falla, and others.
Bach’s famous Goldberg variations take on a delightful new sound when the original composition for the piano is arranged for the saxophone, violoncello, and accordion.
Cellist Eckart Runge prepared this arrangement. “For me, this is a dream come true”, explains Asya Fateyeva.
The trio performed the Goldberg Variations in 2019 at the MDR Music Summer combined with music by Domenico Scarlatti, Manuel de Falla, and Astor Piazzolla.
Saxophonist Asya Fateyeva, Danish accordion virtuoso Andreas Borregaard, and cellist Eckart Runge, founding member of the Artemis Quartet, who after thirty years in the ensemble is now pursuing his own artistic endeavours: The three share a love of classical chamber music, but also an unbound curiosity when it comes to looking beyond the confines of their instrumental repertoire. Through this exploration, they intend to present it in a new light and fill it with life.
With this intention, the three artistic personalities have come together to allow their instruments, each with its own unique story, to interact and unite in a trialogue of colours, cultures, and genres.
Fateyeva, Borregaard, and Runge have made their own adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations the heart of this encounter. The work consisting of 30 variations from an aria and its harmonic bassline – which its author originally entitled, in ironic understatement, a “Clavier-Übung” (literally, a Clavier Exercise) – is an artistically crafted kaleidoscope of counterpoint, dance forms, Baroque groove, and an entire cosmos of human affects, which, in spite of all the complexity and transcendental profundity, still remain connected to earthly longing.
The Goldberg Variations have often been arranged for different instrumental ensembles. Eckart Runge’s arrangement for the saxophone, accordion, and violoncello strikes a charming balance between the tonal characteristics: The bright soprano saxophone – that sounds like something between the Bach trumpet and jazz – the accordion that is both a nimble relative of the organ and an instrument of classic folk music, and the cello, which is equally suited to both the human voice and a bass foundation. The surprisingly novel sound of Runge’s arrangement denotes the different dimensions of Bach's masterpiece.
In the programme, this trialogue is complemented with the rich contrast of works by Manuel De Falla and Astor Piazzolla, who each sublimated the popular music of their cultures into their own artistic music and whose unique approach broke new ground. Moreover, Astor Piazzolla had a special connection to Bach’s music whose profound spirituality and complex polyphony shaped his own musical language and consequently the Tango Nuevo
In the time between the two world wars and shortly before the Second World War wreaked havoc on humanity forever changing everything, many composers dedicated their works to the then relatively new saxophone from France. Invented by the Belgian Antoine Joseph Sax, also known as Adolphe Sax, in the mid-19th century, this programme presents the saxophone in a variety of chamber music instrumentations.
“Especially the work by Adolf Busch proved to be somewhat of a revelation for me. In his work, Adolf Busch taps into the tonal worlds of Johannes Brahms on one hand and, on the other, employs the saxophone purely just like another string instrument”, explains Asya Fateyeva enthusiastically. “Anton Webern and Paul Hindemith also take the same approach – these original works for tenor saxophone are truly unique.”
Erwin Schulhoff: Hot sonata for the alto saxophone and piano, arranged for alto saxophone and a string quartet (written in 1928 – length: 15’)
Adolf Busch: Quintet Op. 34 (altosaxophone, string quartet) (written in 1925 – length: 20´)
Ernst Krenek: Jonny’s Suite (altosaxophone, string quartet, piano) (written in 1927 – length: 7’)
Anton Webern: Quartet Op. 22 (violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, piano) (written in 1928-1930 – length: 7’)
Paul Hindemith: Trio Op. 47 (tenor saxophone, viola, piano) (written in 1928 – length: 14’30’’)
Kurt Weill: Threepenny suite (alto saxophone, string quartet, piano) (written in 1928 – length: 11’)
Recorded in February 2019 in the Sendesaal Bremen, the CD for this programme will be released at the Berlin Classics in February 2020. With the following instrumentation:
Asya Fateyeva – Saxophone
Florian Donderer / Emma Yoon – Violins
Yuko Hara – Viola
Tanja Tetzlaff – Violoncello
Stepan Simonian – Piano
The present programme finds lautten compagney undertaking an exciting journey through time, a journey that covers three centuries of musical history. Even in the seventeenth century, England’s most famous Baroque composer, Henry Purcell, was already being hailed as “Orpheus Britannicus”. His style is unique in English music, combining, as it does, memorable melodies with groovy rhythms. This was the pop music of London in the years around 1690. The Beatles’ first single was released in 1962. The group soon became known for its new sound – a combination of rock and roll and Liverpool beat music – and left a decisive mark on the popular culture of the twentieth century. By 1970 it had already been disbanded but by then it had acquired an iconic status throughout the entire world and provided a surface on to which a whole generation of young people in the West could project their messages of protest.
In the course of the twentieth century the saxophone that Adolphe Sax had patented in Paris in 1846 assumed a leading role in jazz and popular music, but it can also create some wonderful effects in the world of early music. In order to produce a sound, the saxophone relies on human breathing, so it sometimes sounds surprisingly like an early instrument such as a recorder or a cornett. lautten compagney combines these
three worlds with its typical period-instrument sound, creating a novel acoustic experience and breaking down the barriers between different styles and periods. This is the first time that the ensemble has worked with the young saxophonist Asya Fateyeva, a performer hailed as one of the rising stars of the musical scene. She plays a classical saxophone similar to the one invented by Adolphe Sax. It combines so well with period instruments that the innocent listener might think that it dated from the seventeenth century. The usual labels of serious music and popular music are of no significance here. In this way Purcell and the Beatles can rock listeners’ loudspeakers in the here and now.
“I adore the freedom of improvising, which I discovered through my work with Markus Stockhausen and the pianist Svetoslav Karparov!” remarks Asya Fateyeva. “I played a salon concert with Karparov and found all the improvising absolutely delightful”. Asya Fateyeva’s love of jazz continued to grow through her work with Valeriya Myrosh in an encounter with professional jazz musicians like Anna-Lena Schnabel and Florian Weber. The programme “Oh! That Sax!” testifies to this.
“When we met the first time, we didn’t know if we would be able to make music together”, Asya Fateyeva recalls. But then exciting dialogues arose. I introduced them to works from my repertoire, which were inspired by jazz. From the works, the two jazz musicians developed loops and dialogues. Of course, there were also radical contrasts. Florian Weber also developed a prelude for Vocalise by Sergei Rachmaninow. I would love to collaborate like this again in the future.”
Asya Fateyeva - classical saxophone
Valeriya Myrosh - piano
Anna-Lena Schnabel - jazz saxophone
Florian Weber - piano
Lani Tran-Duc - visual consulting
Adolphe Sax, born 6th November 1814 in Dinant, Belgium, studied the clarinet, flute, and voice. In 1842, he moved to Paris with a new instrument in his bags – the saxophone (soprano). He built eight different types of saxophone: Sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, double bass, subcontrabass. His workshop, which at times employed up to 100 people, is thought to have built 20,000 instruments. Despite this success, Sax had to file for bankruptcy on more than one occasion and, in 1894, died a poor man in Paris.
The musicians play saxophone both on their own and together, inspiring one another. They improvise, but also stick to the notes. Their partners on the piano play all the while. It doesn’t take long for us to get a feel for the saxophone, its appeal, range, and to let it move us!
Asya Fateyeva also discovered her love of improvising on the saxophone through her work with early Baroque music and Renaissance compositions. “I love how alive this kind of music is”, she says.
In Italy of the Baroque, for example, the so-called stylus phantasticus emerged: a dramatic manner of playing based on early Baroque improvisation. Girolamo Frescobaldi, Giovanni Pandolfi, and Johann Jakob Froberger were among the early representatives of this style in the 16th und 17th century. The Baroque harpist Luise Enzian and Asya Fateyeva on the saxophone also adopt this unbound, virtuose style in their performance of works like “the Annunciation” by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and compositions by Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli. Free improvisation with bass models from composers like Ascanio Mayone and Johann Jakob Froberger for the harp complete the programme. Here, the two musicians offer a unique combination of short, very different, and in part dissonant-bizarre figures. In the process, they use Ostinato structures, which allow the solo instruments to develop complex counterpoints, similar to the improvisation practiced in present-day jazz.
“For me, the organ is truly the queen of instruments”, explains Asya Fateyeva enthusiastically. “There is so much you can do – the incredible range of its timbres and how Sebastian Küchler-Blessing blends the registers: As a saxophonist, I find that very inspiring! And the sounds of both instruments blend very well” – especially when an experienced, virtuose organist like Essen's cathedral organist Sebastian Küchler-Blessing is playing.
Johann Sebastian Bach: From concerto in g-minor BWV 1056:
1. no movement name
Double improvisation La Follia for the saxophone and organ
Sergej Rachmaninov: from 14 romances op. 34: Vocalise
Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakov: From the opera “The Tale of Zaren Saltan”: Flight of the Bumblebee
Charles Marie Widor: From the 5th organ symphony in f-minor op. 42, no. 1: 5th toccata
Paul Bonneau: Caprice en Forme de Valse
From Denis Bédard’s sonatina I for the altosaxophone and organ:
From William Albright’s sonata for the saxophone and organ:
2. La Follia nuova: a lament for George Cacioppo Largo (Chaconne)
3. Scherzo “Will o’ the wisp”
4. Recitative and Dance
Alto saxophone, grand piano, and violin: In this instrumentation, which is as unusual as it is captivating, saxophonist Asya Fateyeva plays alongside pianist Valeriya Myrosh and violinist Geiger Florian Donderer in the Trio Romantique. Their repertoire includes, among others, Robert Schumann’s “Fairy tale narrations”, as well as works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Kegelstatt Trio), Adolf Busch (Suite), and Max Bruch (Eight pieces op. 83).
“For me, this trio experience is very valuable”, explains Asya Fateyeva, “because it shows me that with the saxophone, anything goes. Music is not reserved for one single instrument!”
Asya Fateyeva looks back on her first performances with the duo Eckart Runge on the cello and Jacques Ammon on the piano. “It was so much fun. We will continue to collaborate and come up with new things,” explains the saxophonist.