”Why don’t you write one for me?“ — This is what Lee Konitz wrote on a post card after I had given him a CD of my Concerto For Orchestra. I met him again at a jazz club in Munich in 1997. I called him at his home in Cologne, and asked him if he wanted me to write some string arrangements of standards. ”No,“ he said, ”I like your melodies. Write something new for me!“ We came up with a motto for the project: German Romantic. I knew it would suit his interest in German music and culture.
I started brainstorming about a concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra. I decided that this concerto should not have the usual three movements but four, in order to get more variety. The sax would add a unique color to the album, to be titled “Prisma”. I made sketches and sent them to Lee. ”Yes, alright, go on with it!“ he said in short notes and over the phone.
After I sent the finished manuscript of the score to him, he gave it the green
light. I started to look for an orchestra to play it but everyone was hesitant. Finally, I ran into the conductor Nikos Athineos in the streets of my hometown. He had recently become chief conductor of the Brandenburg State Orchestra. ”Yes, let’s do it!“ he said.
Christoph Campestrini became the conductor of the premiere on November 1st 2000 at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, featuring Lee Konitz and the Brandenburg State Orchestra. The second half of the concert features Frank Wunsch on piano, playing with Lee as a duo. We recorded this evening live using two stereo microphones for my and Lee's memory.
Guenter Buhles, 2017
released April 27, 2018
Concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra, composed by Guenter Buhles.
Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, Conductor Christoph Campestrini, Lee Konitz (as), Frank Wunsch (p).
Restored and Mastered by Markus Abendroth @Abendroth Mastering, Artwork by Mario Klemm
Live at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, November 1st 2000.