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Young Danish composer-sound artist-drummer Jacob Ridderberg composed the post-minimalist «Rituals» for group of saxophones, between six and fifty saxophones, all played by the same player, Maria Dybbroe. Ridderberg arranged «Rituals», recorded Dybbroe performing it, and did the mixing and mastering.

Ridderberg’s unorthodox yet highly nuanced and multilayered approach shed new insights about the associated timbres of the saxophone family, as Dybbroe plays soprano, alto and baritone saxophones. The eight disciplined pieces draw inspiration from European chamber, classical music, the American minimalism of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich and the cyclical, rhythmic patterns of West African music. Each piece explores a distinct musical idea, technique or form as a way to construct a rich yet cohesive narrative and complex architecture of sounds, focused on multiplication of a single acoustic source.

«Rituals» begins with the chamber, lyrical «Canon» but is followed by the urgent and dense, wailing drones of «Trill» and the sensual-cyclical, breezy African dance of «Delay». The quiet, minimalist «Ambitus» offers a delicate, harmonious choir of saxes. «Density» contrasts the low end register of a mass of baritone sax  with the high end register of a mass soprano saxes with repetitive, highly resonant drone lines. The brief «Homophony» returns to the chamber, lyrical vein. «Phase» creates powerful, slow-shifting, minimalist blocks and sounds like a homage to the work of Glass. The last «Frequency» succeeds to embrace all of Ridderberg’s compositional strategies into an energetic, percussive and highly playful  and somehow ritualistic Reich-ian drone.

Wisely conceived, arranged and edited. Beautifully performed.

Eyal Hareuveni

Maria Dybbroe (ss, as, bs)

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