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Beautiful tone, dynamic gradations and spell binding long note values

Cromer Music Evenings, Terry Keeler

“Huw Wiggin’s performance of Bernstein’s “There’s a place for us” played with such sensitivity, I am sure stirred emotions with the beautiful tone, dynamic gradations and spell binding long note values which were perfect in intonation, even in the pianissimo passages – a master class in breath control indeed.”

Cromer Music Evenings presented two very accomplished performers for the last concert of the 2012/13 series who have performed extensively in the UK and overseas, both graduating from prestigious music colleges and both having performed concerts at sea on Cunard and P&O ships all over the world, including Cunard’s famous Ocean Liner Queen Mary 2.

The chosen programme proved to be a delight and seemed to be prepared to introduce composers, apart from Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin, who were probably unknown to most of the audience. This proved to be so successful as the response to each piece was glorious appreciation in applause.

The well known work Czardas by Vittorio Monti opened the programme, followed by Oblivion, Fugata and Libertango by Astor Piazolla. Then West Side Story Suite by Leonard Bernstein (arr A Brinsford), followed by Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud (the French Composer with whom the great Dave Brubeck studied).

George Gershwin’s Three Preludes (arr by the Russian Shapashnikova) was the first item after the interval – here the 2nd of three was in blues style, slow moving and beautifully phrased with the breath control and tone of the soprano saxophone was so profoundly awe inspiring. The last piece on the programme, The Devil’s Rag by Jean Matitia – here the rapport between the two extremely talented performers was a joy to behold – absolutely brilliant in fact.

To augment the programme, Tim Abel played two piano solos, GriegsWedding Day at Troldhaugen and Death Ray Boogie, the latter bringing spontaneous euphoria to all in the Music Room at Templewood.

Huw Wiggin’s performance of Bernstein’s “There’s a place for us” played with such sensitivity, I am sure stirred emotions with the beautiful tone, dynamic gradations and spell binding long note values which were perfect in intonation, even in the pianissimo passages – a master class in breath control indeed.

The place to be today was Templewood, without doubt!

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Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill – Star rating: 5.0 (★★★★★) 

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I’d put it up there on my top ten list of favourites this year
Thoroughly Good, Jon Jacob

Huw Wiggin: a virtuoso of the saxophone

Henley Standard

Two supreme performers who treated them to a dazzling display of musicianship, artistry and technical wizardry, the like of which they can only occasionally have encountered.

Westmorland Gazette, Brian Paynes

The Kendal Midday Concert Club has the happy knack – when faced with last-minute changes of artist – of finding replacements of equal professional standing who are significantly much more than mere ‘replacements’. Such was the case recently when the pianist, James Sherlock, due to partner the saxophonist, Huw Wiggin, in an  attractive pre-Christmas recital, was indisposed and unable to appear. In his place Huw called upon Somi Kim, a young South Korean lady, who studied in New Zealand, graduating in 2013, won numerous prizes there and, after moving to the UK to study at the Royal Academy and winning further prizes, has become a Park Lane Group Artist. Somi has gained much experience in repetiteuring and is much sought after as a chamber musician and song accompanist.

So original, daring & musically dazzling that it takes one’s breath away

Classical Reviews, Joe Fuller (Brighton Festival 2015)

Sometimes a concert can be so original, daring & musically dazzling that it takes one’s breath away and reminds us of the potential of live music. Huw Wiggin’s virtuoso saxophone playing was one such occasion. The programme was fascinating, including two stunning pieces from Graham Fitkin: ‘Glass’ was a melancholy number that was beautifully simple, still and moving (featuring subtle piano backing from James Sherlock) whereas ‘Gate’ was a more technically challenging piece that was a rewarding showstopper.

Huw Wiggin and James Sherlock's entertaining platform manner, sparring off each other verbally as well as musically

Derby Telegraph

It’s taken a long time for the classical world to fully embrace the saxophone. Even now the repertoire relies on a disproportionate number of transcriptions – not necessarily a bad thing, but symptomatic of a gap that is still closing.

The one original saxophone piece in the recital by Huw Wiggin and pianist James Sherlock was the opening item, Pedro Iturralde’s Pequeña czarda. The players’ full command of its changing moods was typical of the evening as a whole. Wiggin switched from alto to soprano instrument for two movements from Astor Piazzolla’s  Histoire du tango, exploring an impressive dynamic range, and producing a delectable cor anglais-like tone at the bottom of the instrument’s compass.

Security of intonation

Classical Source, Richard Whitehouse

“Saxophonist Huw Wiggin had the full measure of the engaging and highly unpredictable variations on a theme of Leonardo da Vinci that are Giles Swayne’s Leonardo’s Dream (2007), with its airborne final stage summoning an appealingly mellifluous tone, then dispatching Michael Berkeley’s Keening (1987) with the appropriate plangent tone. Wiggin gave Two Memorials by Mark-Anthony Turnage – the wistful, even diffident ‘Trier’ (2000) and the more overtly commemorative ‘Memorial’ (1995), displaying a security of intonation not to be taken for granted with the soprano saxophone.”

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20/09/2020