Nobuya Sugawa‘s latest album, Bach Sequence, has won the Excellence Award at the 78th Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA) National Arts Festival in Japan (2020).
Sugawa himself, a pioneer in the world of Japanese classical saxophone, says that he wanted to record Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Partitas Nos. 1 to 3 for solo violin one day, which was quite a challenge, as the saxophone is a completely melodic instrument.
The result is something extraordinary, combining beautiful musical expression with transcendental technique. In addition, the arrangements are Sugawa’s own.
This is what he told us in a recent conversation we had with him:
I play a lot of Johann Sebastian Bach — I particularly like his partitas or pieces for violin, and play his works a lot as a solo saxophonist.
I think that Bach’s music is essential for all musicians. He was a great musician and composer, not just for the classical world but also for many other musical styles — his influence is everywhere, from jazz to pop music. Bach’s command of harmonic patterns, especially the way he used the cycle of fifths (sequence), is vital for all genres of music.
Recently, my concert recital programs are, in some way or another, linked to Bach. Either I play a Bach piece, or I am playing music that is connected with Bach. Bach’s influence is found everywhere, from Piazolla to jazz to pop. They are all part of one world, in sequence and relationship. Bach connects every concert program that I create.
Enjoy the full album Bach Sequence by Nobuya Sugawa:
Partita No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1002
- Double (Presto)
- Tempo di Borea
Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
Partita No. 3 in F major (original key E major), BWV 1006
- Gavotte en rondeau
- Menuet I & II