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Gramophone Magazine: what’s immediately striking…is the tonal subtlety and expressiveness of the Ferios’ playing

Flux - Ferio Saxophone Quartet - Chandos Records

Gramophone Magazine, Richard Bratby

I’m not sure it’s possible for a saxophone quartet to be a warhorse, as such; nonetheless, I was initially mildly surprised to see that the Ferio Saxophone Quartet’s first disc for Chandos didn’t include Glazunov’s quartet. Instead, this young British ensemble has focused on two areas of the repertoire: original 19th- and early 20th-century French music for sax quartet, and 21st-century works for the same forces. They sit surprisingly well together.

But what’s immediately striking about this disc is the tonal subtlety and expressiveness of the Ferios’ playing. Put aside any preconceptions about how a sax quartet sounds: from the very first item, Jean-Baptiste Singelée’s Grand quatuor of 1862 (dedicated, delightfully, to Ambroise Thomas), you can hear the transparency of the group’s tone and the range of their tonal palette, from the melting sweetness of Huw Wiggin’s soprano to the dark, trenchant sound of Shevaughan Beere on baritone.

Their phrasing is buoyant and lyrical; slow, impressionistic passages such as the opening of Pierné’s Introduction et variations and of the first of Guillermo Lago’s Wordsworth Poems (a Ferio commission) are lucidly and atmospherically voiced. But they can turn on a ha’penny too: witness their sonic transformation from smoky melancholy in ‘Sarajevo’ from Lago’s Cíudades to neon-lit urban glare in the suite’s second movement, ‘Tokyo’.

Lots to discover and enjoy here, then, in intensely musical performances. I was rather taken by Hugo Reinhart’s F minor Quintet – composed in 2006 in an idiom that makes Mendelssohn look avant-garde, and none the worse for it. That’s the nice thing about sax quartets – traditional assumptions about repertoire rarely apply.

But in this case, at least, the artistry of the performances is beyond question.

The recording:
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Totally enjoyable

AllMusic, James Manheim

An imaginative programme … I find myself won over

Gramophone, Fabrice Fitch

Two excellent groups blend together very well

London Light Music Meetings Group, Peter Burt

Intriguing and effective arrangements … strikingly effective

BBC Radio 3 Record Review, Andrew McGregor

Ian Farrington's Arrangements - Revive- Ferio - Chandos
Glorious lightness of tone and touch … breathtaking

Quarterly Review: Endnotes, Stuart Millson

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Performed here with panache by this super-versatile group

BBC Music magazine (Brief Notes section), Jeremy Pound ****

Beautifully controlled performance revealing musicianship of the highest order

The Westmorland Gazette, Clive Walkley

Ian Farrington's Arrangements - Revive- Ferio - Chandos
Natural singers, phrasing supplely and expressively

Gramophone, Richard Bratby

Ian Farrington's Arrangements - Revive- Ferio - Chandos
Character, texture, and colour through dynamic nuance

Thoroughly Good, Jon Jacob 

A delightful take on beautiful music

The Royal Gazette, Bermuda

BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 Record Review

On Saturday 30th September Andrew McGregor was joined on BBC Radio 3 Record Review by oboist and producer Sarah Devonald to review the latest wind CD releases. The Ferio Saxophone Quartet’s recording for Chandos, ‘Flux‘, featured on the programme. McGregor and Devonald discussed the recording at length and praised it very highly for the choice of repertoire, the calibre of the performances by Ferio and the quality of the sound.  

Flux - Ferio Saxophone Quartet - Chandos Records
Their ability to create a beautifully unified, warm tone … highly recommended

Classical Notes, Nick Boston

Flux - Ferio Saxophone Quartet - Chandos Records
Playing is of the highest level throughout

Classical Music Magazine

Flux - Ferio Saxophone Quartet - Chandos Records
Unalloyed delight … irresistible exuberance
Flux - Ferio Saxophone Quartet - Chandos Records
Ferios's 'Flux' is MusicWeb International Recording of the Month

MusicWeb International, Dan Morgan
Chandos CH10987

Plenty of High Quality Music on the Festival Fringe

Seen and Heard International, Simon Thompson

Ferio Saxophone Quartet 5 star review – Brighton Festival

The Argus, *****

Exquisite pace, mood and dynamics – 5 Stars

 The Latest, Andrew Connal ★★★★★

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