Equinox at the World Saxophone Congress

(July 17, 2012)

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Equinox at the 16th World Sax Congress - the biggest ever!

Imagine around 1000 saxophonists, including some of world's most eminent and accomplished players, all clutching their congress programme and finding their way to more than 250 recitals, masterclasses and lectures, with 200 world premieres, in the Scottish university town of St Andrews.  It also coincided with the celebration of 600 years of the University of St Andrews, 150 years of Debussy, 100 years of John Cage, and the 80th years of two giants of classical saxophone, Jean-Marie Londeix and Eugene Rousseau.

Equinox were privileged to be part of such a huge and prestigious event, and on Friday 13th July 2012 we performed our set in the beautiful St Leonard's Auditorium.  Our performance which received a warm and appreciative response from the discerning congress audience.  We were also thrilled that the eponymous Mrs Malcolm was in the audience for our rendition of 'Mrs Malcolm - Her Reel', which we opened on various non-saxophone instruments (violin, flutes, clarinet, oboe and percussion).

equinox at wsc

After the recital!

Equinox WSC Recital Programme:

Libertango - Astor Piazzolla arr. Lindsey Smith

Piazzolla is famous for blending the tango with classical and jazz styles to create a new genre - nuevo tango. He met with great resistance from fellow Argentinians who believed that, in a country where everything else was changing, the tango should be a constant. 'Libertango' was his 'song to liberty'.

Lincolnshire Posy - Percy Grainger arr. A Parnell

i. Lisbon
ii. The Brisk Young Sailor *iii Horkstow Grange (The Miser and his Man: a Local Tragedy)
iv. The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song)

Grainger wrote his Lincolnshire Posy for wind band in 1936, based on folk songs he'd collected some years before, and dedicated it to 'the old folksingers, who sang so sweetly to me'. Grainger himself arranged parts of the suite for saxophones - he professed a great admiration for the instrument's sound.

Babadağ - Alistair Parnell

Inspired by a family holiday, Babadağ is named after a mountain in south-west Turkey and features Alistair Parnell on EWI. Each player 'spells out' the name of the mountain in a motif that runs through the piece, interwoven with a haunting call to prayer.

Mrs Malcolm, Her Reel (Funky Freuchie) - Richard Ingham

The St Andrews Suite for jazz orchestra received its first performance in April 2004. Since then, the central movement, Mrs Malcolm, has received many performances throughout the UK in various chamber ensemble arrangements. The eponymous Mrs Malcolm is a colleague of the composer at the University here in St Andrews.

Equinox members participated in the congress in other ways too.

As well as the Equinox set, all members played in the performance of Rachel Stott's 'Several World', which was directed by Sarah Markham, and in which Chris Jolly and Alistair Parnell featured as soloists.  Alistair also presented a Special Event,  'Introduction to the EWI', in which he demonstrated the technical and expressive capabilities of the Electronic Wind Instrument, He also performed with the group Flotilla.  Sarah performed in the opening Gala Concert with the Scottish Saxophone Ensemble, with 'Scorch', and in her own solo recital with Paul Turner on piano, and which also featured Chris Jolly in a performance of his new piece 'TRIp'.  Sarah Markham and Nicola Pennill were also committee members so were involved in the preparation and in other ways during the week

Overall, we were all agreed - an amazingly worthwhile and inspiring experience, and great to play to such knowledgeable and generous fellow saxophonists.

Performances will be online shortly at

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