Saxophone Spectacular - Concert Report

(June 09, 2012)

Equinox and YSC West Bridgford

Photo: Bruno Gran

The combined forces of Equinox Saxophone Ensemble, Yorkshire Sax Choir, Sarah Markham, Paul Turner and Alistair Parnell came together for a blistering night of saxophone music. The common thread was that all have been selected to perform at the prestigious  World Saxophone Congress in July this year, which celebrates the diversity of the saxophone and showcases many of the worlds’s leading performers. 

There was certainly plenty of variety on offer.  The collective sounds of the ensembles was interspersed with solo works, and the repertoire ranged from the contemporary to the classical, with a bit of jazz and folk thrown in for good measure.

Nine-piece ensemble Equinox kicked things off with their energetic version of Piazzolla’s 'Libertango', and Grainger’s iconic 'Linconshire Posy'.  Director Alistair Parnell’s own composition ‘Babadag’ introduced the voice of the EWI, and yet more instruments joined for the opening of Richard Ingham’s ‘Mrs Malcolm – Her Reel’, when  players swapped instruments to include violin, flute, clarinet, oboe and percussion.

Equinox members Sarah Markham and Chris Jolly were joined by pianist Paul Turner in Chris Jolly’s ‘TRIp’ for alto, baritone and piano, and Sarah and Paul played James Rae’s Sonata for Alto Saxophone, which was written for Sarah.

The Yorkshire Saxophone Choir’s twelve piece line up performed Paul Harvey’s characterful ‘El Tourneo’, and Keiron Anderson’s evocative ‘Closure’.  The warm orchestral sounds of Alain Crepin’s arrangement of ‘Con te Partiro’ allowed the choir to demonstrate the depth of sound possible with their larger forces, and they closed their set with Chris Gumbley’s rhythmically exciting E-Type Jig.

Alistair Parnell, who will lead the electroacoustic instrument strand at the World Saxophone Congress, demonstrated the flexibility and virtuosity of the EWI in his version of Tony Davis’s chamber dance work ‘Rhapsody’, originally for alto sax.

Everyone got together for a joint number. Yorkshire Sax Choir’s Matthew McGuffie’s Gordon Goodwin-inspired number ‘Phat Sax on Sundays’, with tenor solos from John Farthing and Chris Jolly.

The concert closed with Equinox Saxophone Ensemble and their version of Bill Whelan’s haunting ‘Riverdance’.

"Mesmerisingly good"

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