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New programmes for voices and saxophones from Corvus and Ferio

Corvus Consort and Ferio Saxophone Quartet offer some exciting new programme proposals in the wake of their recently-released CD ‘Revoiced’ on Chandos Records.

Described as “a bold and fascinating recording” by Matthew d’Ancona of Tortoise Media, ‘Revoiced’ explores the magical blend of saxophones and voices, bringing new colours to music from the Baroque and Renaissance, recasting contemporary choral works into a fresh soundworld, and inspiring the creation of new music. The joint ensemble’s new programmes feature a selection of repertoire from Revoiced, including contemporary music by Owain Park, Sarah Rimkus and James MacMillan, as well as new versions of early music by Schütz, A. Gabrieli, J. S. Bach and J. M. Bach, described as “intriguing and effective arrangements” by Andrew McGregor on BBC Radio 3 Record Review.

Corvus and Ferio are offering a full-length concert programme of music for voices and saxophones drawn from ‘Revoiced’, which also features contrasting items for a cappella voices, and saxophone quartet arrangements from Ferio’s 2018 disc ‘Revive’, which first inspired this collaboration.

They also propose an hour-long programme, in which music from Revoiced builds up to a performance of an arrangement of Vaughan Williams’s cantata In Windsor Forest written by the Consort’s Director Freddie Crowley, which was commissioned by Chiltern Arts Festival for Corvus and Ferio’s joint concert there in February 2022, in celebration of RVW’s 150th year.

Both programmes feature Owain Park’s Miserere after Allegri, written specially for Corvus and Ferio, a recomposition of Allegri’s iconic choral work, placing voices and saxophones in dialogue and translating the original music into a rich contemporary soundworld. Park’s piece is complemented beautifully by James MacMillan’s stunning Christus vincit, originally written for 8-part choir and soprano solo, and appearing here in a special arrangement for voices and saxophones by the Consort’s Director, Freddie Crowley. The original high soprano solo is given here to the soprano saxophone, which brings an added brilliance to the soaring line with its lithe improvisational ornamentation, and allows for a magical diminuendo when the solo is left hanging at the end of the piece, fading into its own echo.

Amongst the Baroque and Renaissance works in the programmes sits music from Heinrich Schütz’s Geistliche Chor-Music of 1648. In the preface to this collection, Schütz writes that “You can perform some of these pieces […] with an organ or instruments on the choral parts along with a full choir”. He was not, of course, thinking of saxophones, as these wouldn’t be invented for another 200 years, but ‘Revoiced’ gives a fascinating insight into how this music would have sounded on the instruments of the future.

Please click here to read more about these two beautiful programmes from Corvus Consort and Ferio Saxophone Quartet.

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