Prism Quartet

Breath Beneath (New Dynamic Records)

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Now in its 25th year, the Prism Quartet has achieved more than its main goal of promoting the saxophone as a serious classical instrument; it has also emphatically expanded the instrument’s repertoire. So it’s only apt that Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Matthew Levy and Taimur Sullivan would celebrate their first quarter century with a pair of CDs teeming with Prism-commissioned works. If Breath Beneath, available on Tuesday 2, is any indication of what’s to come, we’re hoping for another 25 years.

The four sax objects kick off their disc with Roshanne Etezady’s Keen, a sharp, ardent dervish of a piece. Though it enters on and returns to the same pitch in a series of exotic whirls, it’s far from being a one-note affair. Prism’s prowess is partly responsible; the group’s eager and enlivened playing makes this album opener an event. Indicative of Prism’s virtuosity, Kristin Kuster’s Breath Beneath captures the lower register of the sax family. If Etezady took her inspiration from anthropology, Kuster thrives in the world of architecture, here creating a rich cityscape of sound. The instruments are greater than the sum of their parts, at various turns creating a full orchestral sound.

Prism releases its second CD, Antiphony—a knockout omnibus of compositions from some of modern China’s most notable composers including Tan Dun and Lei Liang—in March.—Olivia Giovetti

Prism Quartet performs at (Le) Poisson Rouge Sun 31.

Prism Quartet

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