The Quirk quartet performed twice at the Saxophone Day, hosted by the University of Huddersfield and directed by Sarah Markham. The first concert was at 10:15 am in St. Paul's Hall, the second at 6:00 pm. In the later performance we were joined by Richard Ingham playing soprano saxophone, so in effect we became a quintet. We performed one of Richard's compositions; Pieces for five players.
I think it's pretty rare that the same quartet, plays the same composition, in the same performance space, exactly a year apart. The only difference being the guest saxophonists that joined the quartet.
This year; Richard Ingham, last year; Claude Delangle. From the quartet's point of view this was fascinating, Richard and Claude rehearsed and performed in completely different ways.
Claude took more of a solo role, taking time to experiment with the musical line and musical detail. In some ways Claude was working blind; there is little explanation as to the premise of the composition. Claude's interpretation was beautiful, French classical saxophone at its best. As expected, absolutely stunning.
We were surprised at how different Richard's interpretation was. Of course we should have expected it, he is the composer and 'inside' the music. He created the gestalt to be carried forward. His performance (apart from the cadenza solo passages) was less that of a soloist. His sound became part of the ensemble and revealed intricate textures and harmonic spacings, at times the Scottish influence came to the fore.
I recently read an interesting paper by Patricia Holmes discussing timbre as a conveyor of emotion. This year's performance seemed to resonate with that discussion. If you're interested here's the details of the article:
Holmes, P. A. (2012). An Exploration of Musical Communication Through Expressive Use of Timbre: The Performer's Perspective. Psychology of Music, 40(3), 301-323.
Yesterday I did a gig with the Opera Dudes, that's them at the sound check.
The Opera Dudes are Tim Lole and Neil Allen, it’s usually the same line-up in the section; myself on woodwind, Richard Baker on Trombone, Gary Wyatt and Rob Deakin on trumpets. If you’ve never seen the Opera Dudes in action, well, you should…. excellent operatic tenors, with a mix of Frank Spencer impressions and long funny narratives describing their lives and history.
It’s always fun for me, because Tim Lole tends to email parts out a few days before the gig with new arrangements. This week The Pearl Fishers duet (Georges Bizet) long clarinet solo had moved to flute. There was also a new addition; E lucevan le stelle from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca on clarinet. Nessun dorma from the final act of Puccini’s opera Turandot obviously needed a French classical alto saxophone solo as an accompaniment.
This description from their website sums up their classical cabaret evenings:
“Take a bricklayer, a pub and club singer, a highly-experienced operatic tenor, an organ scholar, a cassock-clad chorister, a Cambridge Graduate, an impressionist, a couple of comedians, and a prize-winning conductor with appearances on the TV, mix them together and what do you get? Just a couple of seriously talented guys giving you a great night out. In other words, the Opera Dudes.
Some might say Mik Artistik is an acquired taste, I think he's brilliant.
Plastic Fox is one of my favourites:
All those weekly performance classes trying to encompass everything needed to perform and have presence in front of an audience. Plastic Fox, it’s all there.
...and there’s always Cheap watch, from the market:
Subscribe to keep up to date with the Quirk ensemble, or saxophone compositions added to the site: