What better way to begin our 2019 musical journey than with a lively and completely refreshing compilation from Chandos of baroque and Elizabethan-era classics – Handel’s Water Music; Byrd, Pavan and Gigue; Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 – arranged for saxophone quartet. The Ferio Saxophone Quartet – Huw Wiggin, Ellie McMurray, Jose Banuls and Shevaughan Beere, is an ensemble of young players and has already undertaken critically-acclaimed international tours, despite the group only having been formed three years ago.
On their new recording, Revive, they bring a glorious lightness of tone and touch to a well-chosen programme from the 17th and 18th-centuries;
… the works all transcribed for the saxophone by Iain Farrington, who comments in the CD booklet: “Baroque music lends itself particularly well to small ensembles… the arrangements maintaining the essential material of the music. Transferred to the pure and haunting sound of saxophones, the music comes to possess an added beauty (perhaps melancholy?)”
Handel’s Sarabande, from his 1733 D minor suite, first published in Amsterdam, is heard with exactly the impression which Mr. Farrington has envisaged, as is the William Byrd arrangement, taken from that extensive and hallowed collection of early English music, The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.
Although, perhaps we should also use the word – breathtaking – as it is remarkable that such a detailed three-movement work as Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto – usually heard on violins, violas, and basso continuo – now radiates its beauty and invention through four saxophones.