Paradigm Lost Front Cover

Paradigm Lost

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Paradigm Lost (2005) by Lee Hyla (1952–2014)

Fearful Symmetries (excerpt, 1988) by John Adams (b. 1947), Arr. Timothy McAllister

Compass (2010)  by David Rakowski (b. 1958)

Prism (Memo 6b) (2008) by Bernard Rands (b. 1934)

Not Alone (2014)  by Chen Yi (b. 1953)

Squeeze (2007) by Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964)

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Record Label / Catalogue Number:
XAS 103

Release Date:
September 22, 2017


One Sheet

If it is possible for a group with over three decades of pioneering work to reintroduce itself, then that’s what Paradigm Lost does for the PRISM Quartet. After a string of important and boundary-busting releases on Innova, ECM, and many other labels, this collection firmly establishes PRISM’s own XAS label, and offers a kind of “State of the Union” address for the saxophone quartet.

The album title is also well-considered. If there ever was a paradigm for a saxophone quartet, PRISM has long since dispensed with it, through a radical re-examination of what the saxophone can do…and who it can do it with. The quartet has worked with choirs, chamber ensembles, jazz bands, and the weird and wild instrumentarium designed by Harry Partch. As it happens, the works on this album, whatever their origins, are simply for saxophone quartet, but they all come from a place of collaboration, with composers who reflect the musical and cultural diversity of 21st century America.

The six composers featured on Paradigm Lost represent the pinnacle of excellence in new American music. Between them, they have received virtually every major composition award and fellowship, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music, Grawemeyer Award, Rome Prize, Grammy Award, Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, Charles Ives Living Award and Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, and commissions from the Fromm, Naumburg, and Koussevitzky foundations.

—John Schaefer


Paradigm Lost is the third release of PRISM’s label, XAS Records, founded to advance the Quartet’s mission to share extraordinary saxophone music with listeners around the world.

Funding Acknowledgement: Paradigm Lost was made possible with generous support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.; the National Endowment for the Arts; and New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and Aaron Copland Fund for Music.