The saxophone quartet may not be an unexplored medium these days, but few outfits are as enterprising as Ferio, now following up their excellent release of Baroque transcriptions (12/18) with ‘Evoke’ – an equally diverse collection that draws on the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Jazz Suite comprises seven movements from suites for jazz ensemble and variety orchestra by Shostakovich. Several current ‘drive-time’ favourites are featured here – the incisive March, strutting Foxtrot and suavity of the now ubiquitous Waltz No 2 high points of a collection concluded by the infectious high spirits of the Dance aka ‘Public Holiday’ from The Gadfly. Equally effective, Carmen Suite draws on those orchestral suites arranged from Bizet’s opera – from which the sultry Habanera, soulfully eloquent Intermezzo or the cumulative panache of Gypsy Dance could well be in demand from saxophone ensembles everywhere.
Both these transcriptions have been devised by Iain Farrington with his customary expertise. His own Animal Parade deftly continues the lineage of Saint-Saëns with its quirky penguins, anarchic monkey and ingratiating alley-cats, before ‘Blue Whale’ evokes far more affecting imagery. The late Pedro Iturralde exemplifies a ‘crossover’ that did not take the line of least resistance: Memorias is a suite touristique that unfolds from and back to an austere Lisbon, via decadent Casablanca then enervated Algiers, with a perceptiveness acute in its subversion.
Throughout this recital, Timothy End contributes pianism as discreet or assertive as required. Excellent sound and notes by Ingrid E Pearson enhance a further welcome Ferio collection.