A founding member of the Calefax Reed Quintet, he has provided them with arrangements
of works by composers as diverse as Bach, Ravel and Rameau. As a soloist, he has arranged Paganini’s Caprices for saxophone and this disc finds him again concentrating on the master violinist’s output.
Many of the works on this release are effectively Paganini ‘once removed’ as they are arrangements of other composers’ arrangements. Hekkema is a brilliant saxophonist and he uses his full bag of tricks in attempting to match Paganini’s range. However the result is only partially satisfying, as many of the effects seem forced or not quite right. Frequently the ‘effect’ is heard rather than the musical content but, given that the repertoire for the classical saxophone is severely limited he makes a brave attempt.
The highlight is the arrangement of Paganini’s Quartet XV where Hekkema puts aside his bag of tricks and focuses on the music of this wonderful and less well known work. Pianist Eijsacker is a willing and talented partner; the sound is spectacularly captured by Dabringhaus and Grimm’s engineers and the sleeve notes (by Hakkema) are lucid and informative.
Ultimately, however, this will be of limited interest to anyone but fans of the saxophone or this fine performer.