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Natural singers, phrasing supplely and expressively

Ian Farrington's Arrangements - Revive- Ferio - Chandos

Gramophone, Richard Bratby

… only the glummest of historically informed pedants could object to hearing Purcell, Byrd or Handel played by a group as good as this.

And, at the risk of heresy, there are instances where the music gains from being played by saxes: the outer movements of Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto, for example, definitely gain in contrapuntal clarity and colour, as do the different voices of the three Bach fugues included here.

These players also have a remarkable way of generating an atmosphere through tone-colour: the numinous aura around the Prelude, BWV857, or the twilight colours of Handel’s D minor Sarabande:

José Banuls (tenor) and Shevaughan Beere (baritone) shape their attack so sensitively that you could swear you’re hearing a string bass and cello.

There’s a similar illusion of trumpet and organ in the central movement of the Brandenburg.

Huw Wiggin (on soprano) and Ellie McMurray (alto), meanwhile, are natural singers, phrasing supplely and expressively…

Livelier numbers go with a kick and a swing; in all, it’s an enjoyable programme.

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05/07/2020