Langar Church Concert Report(October 28, 2006)
It was standing room only at St Andrew's Church, Langar on Saturday 28th October for the Equinox Concert. Latecomers struggled to find a seat as the concert kicked off with the usual varied programme from the group.
The first half began with 'Palladio' by Karl Jenkins, after which the group's leader and musical director Alistair Parnell introduced the range of saxophones; sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass and Tubax - all of which then featured in group member James Crockford's arrangement of 'Of Spain' by Colin Cowles.
The flexibility of the group came into its own as the next two items used smaller forces, with an unusual Suite for Harpsichord and Sax Quartet (also Colin Cowles) and a movement from Albinoni Oboe Concerto Op 9 No 3, for solo soprano sax (played by Nicola Pennill) with sax quartet.
The group was back to full force for an exciting rendition of Michael Nyman's Hotel de Ville - a challenging and energetic work using the full power and range of all the instruments. Gavin Whitlock's lively Celtic Suite, with its infectious melodies and ceilidh rhythms took us to the interval.
Dvorak's Slavonic Dance No 9 started proceedings for the second half, and the group then showed its more reflective side with 'Oblivion' by Piazzola, with sensitive playing from Michelle Phillips in the baritone solo.
The popular hit of the night must have been the virtuoso rendition of 'Flight of the BumbleBass', featuring James Crockford on the brand new bass saxophone, (courtesy of Windblowers), accompanied by the Tubax and the higher instruments, the soprano and sopranino saxes. James showed that the bass can really fly along with great clarity and verve. Stunning!
The pop ballad 'Iris', with its lyrical melodies proved a great showcase for the saxophone's vocal qualities, especially in the solos from alto (Gayle Williams), tenor (James Crockford) and soprano (Alistair Parnell).
Drummer Jon Oldershaw then joined the group for the final set, and set the pace for the driving rhythms of Herbie Hancock's 'Watermelon Man'. He really came into his own, though, in the stunning finale of 'Riverdance', which featured visceral drum solos and flying fingers from the saxophones in the intricate cross rhythms of the final section.
"A fantastic, memorable concert..."
"I can't believe the saxophone can create such a range of sounds"
"When I closed my eyes I could imagine it was a full orchestra playing"
Slideshow, with rehearsal shots and images of Langar Church (Photos - Andrew Pennill, music - Equinox)