Concert Report: Equinox, Christian Forshaw and Natalie Clifton-Griffith

(March 15, 2010)
Equinox and Christian Forshaw 3
Photo Chris Smith
St Giles' Church in West Bridgford played host to a spectacular evening of saxophone music on Saturday 13th March 2010. 
Equinox Saxophone Ensemble, under the direction of Alistair Parnell, demonstrated the versatility of the saxophone family of instruments, as they moved seamlessly through music from  a range of styles and periods.  Their first half set included Karl Jenkin's iconic Palladio, JS Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No 2, and selections from the Holberg Suite by Grieg, and Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy.  For Riverdance, their final item of the first half, Equinox were joined by the crystal soprano voice of Natalie Clifton-Griffith, and Christian Forshaw on soprano saxophone, giving a foretaste of what was to come later in the concert.
Forshaw's Sanctuary material is simple in concept but rich in its emotional and musical content.  Drawing on ancient melodies, the settings are original and relevant to a contemporary audience, without losing any of their visceral appeal.    For this collaboration, the organ/voice/saxophone setting was adapted, so that Equinox provided support in place of the organ. 
Christian Forshaw's setting of Mortal Flesh typifies the style and impact of the Sanctuary project, and was an arresting opener for the second half of the concert.  A set of Machaut pieces and a Rameau Suite from Les Boreades made full use of the saxophone ensemble in their accompanying role for Forshaw's solo soprano saxophone.  Natalie Clifton-Griffith shone in Dowland's None But Me, supported by keyboard and a gentle obbligato sax.  The baritone saxophone came to the fore in Bach's Nicht so Traurig, providing first an eloquent melodic voice and then adding its power and strength to the chordal accompaniment. The concert ended with Vaughan Williams' Down Ampney, bringing the combined forces together for a rousing climax to the evening.

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