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.
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