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Islas CD cover image


Kyle Horch - soprano and tenor saxophones
Guillem Calvo - violin
Pavel Timofejevsky - piano
All compositions by Ian Stewart

Music Chamber MC0008



Classical music has invariably been influenced by folk and popular music, and today with the revival of interest in folk music, both traditional and psychedelic, as well as thriving ambient, Celtic and New Age music scenes, there many opportunities to integrate these influences into classical chamber music.
The classical saxophone with its vocal quality is the perfect instrument for such styles, along with the violin, a mainstay of folk music for centuries, and the piano which is so common in ambient and New Age music.
ISLAS, released on the Music Chamber label, is a new Cd featuring new chamber music which uses techniques from Celtic and folk traditions - drones, simple chords, and clear melodic forms - and in some sections imitates the sounds of folk instruments such as the autoharp, hurdy-gurdy and tanpura.


Click here for reviews from :
Symposium - North American Saxophone Allianance
Saxophone Journal
Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine

Tracks from this CD were featured on the programme MPClàssics, on Catalunya Música, 11 November 2010.

>>> Buy Islas CD now <<<

purple play button       Lime Groves of South Kensington - 3rd section

purple play button       Listen to concert recording of ISLAS - track 1

Track listing:
  • Islas (3:27) - soprano saxophone : piano
    (influences: Ibiza ambient music)
  • Astral Hurdy-Gurdy (20:21) - soprano saxophone : violin : piano
    (influences: folk, psychedelic and Celtic)
  • Mornwards 4:41 - soprano saxophone : piano
    (influences: new age and classical)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano (21:33) - violin : piano
    (influences: traditional violin sonata idiom with folk and soft rock)
  • Lime Groves of South Kensington (18:24) - tenor saxophone : violin : piano
    (influences: psychedelic rock and folk)
  • As Far As You Can See (3:26) - tenor saxophone : piano
    (influences: folk, pop and classical)

Saxophone Symposium, v.35 (2012)

"Composer Ian Stewart's recording Islas, released in 2010, is the second recording of his music released on the Music Chamber label. Based in London, Stewart is a composer, arranger, and performer with various musical influences. Trained as a classical pianist, he has also performed as a trombonist in brass bands and has worked with electric keyboards, turntables, and accordion. Beginning in his teens, Stewart studied composition with Franz Reizenstein and later Thomas Rajna. This recording contains six works. Three of these are written for saxophone and piano, and two are for saxophone, violin, and piano. These pieces feature saxophonist Kyle Horch, pianist Pavel Timofejevsky, and violinist Guillem Calvo Martinez de Albeniz. The final piece on the CD is a large-scale violin sonata.

The title track Islas, composed for soprano saxophone and piano, is an excellent opening to the recording. According to the brief description of the recording on the Music Chamber website, Islas is largely influenced by ambient and new age music styles. Featuring the soprano saxophone, this brief work creates a relaxed and free feeling that begins in the recurring patterns of the piano before the entrance of the saxophone. Horch demonstrates his fine abilities and admirable control of the instrument throughout the performance.

Astral Hurdy-Gurdy for soprano saxophone, violin, and piano is a considerably more substantial work and one of the pieces on the recording for all three performers. Composed in three movements, the performers demonstrate their abilities to perform well in a chamber setting. Similar to the title work, all three movements largely feature the soprano saxophone playing melodic material over recurring rhythmic patterns in the violin and piano.

Stewart's third work, Mornwards, returns to the soprano and piano instrumentation of the opening track. Though slightly longer than the opening track, Stewart has composed another beautiful melodic piece. Again, Horch demonstrates his fine abilities and control of the soprano saxophone during the composition.

Lime Groves of South Kensington for tenor saxophone, violin, and piano is the second work for all three performers. Similar to the other work, this piece is written in three movements with each instrument being more equally represented throughout the work. There are recurring rhythmic ideas that serve as the opening material and eventual foundations for much of the melodic content. Each performer does a nice job of performing the piece with the energy and the sensitivity needed for a chamber work.

Ending the recording, Stewart's As Far As You Can See for tenor saxophone and piano is another brief but lyrical work that features Horch on tenor saxophone. As with his soprano playing, Horch demonstrates complete control of the tenor saxophone and performs the final selection extremely musically.

Islas by composer Ian Stewart is an excellent recording of chamber music for various combinations of saxophone, violin, and piano. The three performers, Kyle Horch, Guillem Calvo Martinez de Albeniz, and Pavel Timofejevsky performed each of the works extremely musically and with fine attention to detail while complementing each other throughout the recording. Stewart's compositions demonstrate his wide variety of music influences, leading the listener to hear several different styles during each piece."

Stephen Fischer
Website of : NASA - North American Saxophone Alliance

Saxophone Journal - May/June 2011

Ian Stewart has released an excellent new CD, titled Islas. Ian Stewart states this description in the CD's release and no one can say it better. "Classical music has been influenced by folk and popular music and today with the revival of interest in folk music and psychedelic as well as thriving ambient Celtic and New age music scenes there are many opportunities to integrate these influences into classical chamber music. The classical saxophone with its vocal quality is the perfect instrument for such styles, along with the violin, a mainstay of folk music for centuries and the piano which so common in ambient and New Age music. Islas released on the Music Chamber label is a new CD featuring new chamber music which uses techniques from Celtic and folk traditions (drones, simple chords, and clear melodic forms), and in some sections imitates the sounds of folk instruments such as the autoharp, hurdy-gurdy and tanpura."

Stewart is a professional composer, orchestrator, and musician who grew up in England, Scotland, and Malta. He is a classically trained pianist who also played the trombone in the Scottish Youth Brass Band and the San Gejtanu Band in Hamrun, Malta. He also plays electric keyboards and produces "electronica."

The featured saxophonist is Kyle Horch, who performs on both the soprano and tenor saxophones for this recording. Kyle Horch studied with Fred Hemke at Northwestern University, after which he won a BP North America Scholarship to pursue post graduate study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Stephen Trier. He has performed as a recitalist at the Purcell Room, QEH, Blackheath Recital Hall, British and World Saxophone Congresses. He has been saxophone professor at the Royal College of Music since 1993.

Kyle Horch is joined in this project by pianist Pavel Timofejevsky who studied at the Royal Academy Music from2002 with Professor Tatiana Sarkissova, graduating with the Bachelor of Music degree in 2006 and receiving the Leslie England Award for gaining one of the highest marks in his Final recital. They are joined by violinist Guillem Calvo, who began his studies with the Suzuki teacher Albert Sàrrias in Barcelona. He graduated from the Conservatori del Liceu and studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Evelio Tieles and Yossi Zivoni.

Islas is the title of the opening selection. and was composed for soprano saxophone and piano. It has a soft gentle rhythm with through Kyle Horch's beautiful soprano saxophone glides, creating an interesting musical sound landscape. Kyle Horch has a stunning soprano saxophone sound that surrounds you with its warmth, while the piano completes the picture supplying an equally warming harmony upon which to hang our landscape.

The violin is added to this duo for Astral Hurdy-Gurdy, which occurs in three movements. The soprano saxophone starts with beautiful soliloquy, and then all three are playing a repeated figure that is quite fascinating. The soprano suddenly breaks away, backed up pizzicato violin and piano in a drone background. There is a delightful counterpoint between the three instruments before returning to the ensemble drone motif. The second movement is all lyricism spinning melodic lines between each member of the trio. The piano opens the third movement, followed by repeated unison with the violin, then soprano saxophone. The piece keeps evolving, and involving the listener deeper into the music. Throughout Astral Hurdy-Gurdy the soprano saxophone is some a focal point for the piece, which makes it all that much better.

Mornwards, for soprano saxophone and piano, is the next selection. It is an excellent composition with broad sweeping themes that carry your imagination up and away on melodies with wings. The next selection is a violin sonata, followed by Lime Groves of South Kensington, composed for violin, tenor saxophone, and piano. Lime is at times reminiscent of psychedelic rock music. Kyle Horch supplies an interesting tenor saxophone sound using very little vibrato. The final selection is As Far As You Can See and was composed for tenor saxophone and piano. Here Kyle Horch utilizes a delightful saxophone vibrato and tone.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable collaboration of saxophonist, pianist, and composer who all worked exceedingly well together. In addition, there are several outstanding new additions to the saxophone library thanks to composer Ian Stewart. They were created for the saxophone, not adapted to the saxophone. This is definitely must get CD. §

Paul Wagner
Website of : Saxophone Journal

Clarinet and Saxophone Society Magazine - Spring 2011

This collection of contemporary chamber music by British composer Ian Stewart is his second release on this label. It features six compositions for saxophone, violin and piano in various combinations - three short pieces and three more substantial works in several movements. The saxophone is clearly an instrument that appeals to the composer, who has written extensively for sax ensembles large and small, and here the soprano and tenor saxophones are eloquent communicators in the hands of Kyle Horch.

This is an album that wears its heart on its sleeve; with a complete absence of liner notes it was possible to deduce from the music and artwork alone a lot of information about the composer that on subsequent investigation proved to be accurate. This is melodic contemporary music, with a Celtic flavour, minimalist elements and influences from the world of pop, psychedelia, and electronica. Both the saxophone and violin are close to the human voice in expression, and many of these pieces have a song-like quality.

The three instruments appear in disguise as another in both the aptly named Astral Hurdy Gurdy and Lime Groves of South Kensington with its autoharp sounds. The former features much use of repeating figures, rhythmic unison and open fifths, and showcases the soprano in simple or decorated melodies, often reminiscent of a traditional Scottish tune. In the latter, with its Eastern feel, Kyle Horch displays the range of the tenor personality, soft and clarinettish at times and elsewhere with a contrasting poppy edge.

The violin sonata is thought-provoking and full if ideas. Among the shorter pieces, the title track is thoughtful and meditative with a decorated soprano melody, while Mornwards and As Far As You Can See are simple and pastoral with the instant appeal of a pop song. This music is atmospheric, evocative, sometimes hypnotic; occasionally meandering, it reminded me of a patchwork quilt of thematic material. Overall the CD offers an enjoyable listening experience and a relaxing wind-down at the end of the day.

Alison Owen-Morley
Website of : Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain

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