Acclaim
Oasis Quartet, JoAnn Falletta and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Propelling the audience nearly 120 years into the future, the symphony welcomed more guests to the stage for Bolcom’s 2000 composition Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet & Orchestra. Featuring two local musicians, Indianola's Dave Camwell playing tenor saxophone and Des Moines' James Romain playing baritone saxophone, the Oasis Quartet brought excellent ensemble work and very fine musicianship to this piece. Nathan Nabb’s soprano saxophone playing was particularly compelling for its rich, round sound. The Bolcom concerto is characterized by moments that seem to come straight from the Golden Age of Hollywood mixed with contemporary, complex rhythms and sounds. For example, the violins played an entrance in the first movement, marked “Lively”, with a legato practically fashioned out of golden sunshine.

As an encore, the gentlemen of Oasis Quartet offered a 2007 Martin Bresnick composition titled “Everything Must Go,” which happens to be a wink at the last album by Steely Dan. This was a highlight of the evening. Bresnick is quoted as saying, “the saxophone quartet is the only thing that gives the string quartet a run for its money” and Oasis certainly provided a positive argument for that case in their rich and eloquent playing.

Megan Ihnen, Des Moines Register
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