Amy Dickson - Smile

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Amy Dickson (saxophone), Catherine Milledge (piano)

Amy Dickson is a player with a difference – an artist who may well appeal to listeners who have virtually written off the saxophone as being part of the world of popular dance music and therefore not of great interest. She has a individual and unusual tone, luscious, silky-smooth, sultry and voluptuous by turns; her phrasing is beautifully finished, her control of dynamic infinitly subtle. She plays very songfully, is often gentle and restrained, at times sounding like the chalumeaux of a clarinet. But she can rise to a passionate climax, as in Danza de la moza donosa, or slinkily respond to Debussy’s La plus que lente. She is very lucky to have an accompanist-partner with the musical affinity of Catherine Milledge who provides a perfectly balanced backcloth, one that the ear picks up as being pleasurable in its own right. How atmospherically she prepares the way for Dickson’s beguiling entry at the beginning of the recital when she seduces the ear wih Chaplin’s title number.

One of the most fascinating duets here is Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel, where the piano plays a series of gentle but pointed triplets, like falling rain, while the soloist ruminates, an unforgettable combination. This is a disc of unusual musical interest: the programme includes Rachmaninov, Fauré, Elgar and even Finzi whose Elegy is particularly effective when played with such sophisticated rapture.


Bozza, Eugène (1905-91)
Chaplin, Charles (Charlie) (1889-1977)
Debussy, Claude Achille (1862-1918)
Elgar, Edward William (1857-1934)
Fauré, Gabriel Urbain (1845-1924)
Finzi, Gerald (1901-56)
Ginastera, Alberto (1916-83)
Pärt, Arvo (b.1935)
Piazzólla, Astor (1921-92)
Rachmaninov, Sergey Vassilievich (1873-1943)
Wiedoeft, Rudy (1893-1940)


1. Smile
2. Souvenir
3. Vocalise
4. Valse Vanité
5. Romance sans paroles
6. Spiegel im Spiege
7. Ave Maria
8. Danza de la moza donosa
9. La plus que lente
10. Salut d’Amour
11. Melody
12. Aria
13. Elegy