Saturday 12thJanuary was indeed a night to remember in the concert diary of Millfield School’s Music Department, with not just one, but two world-class ensembles performing in one concert! The beautiful Johnson Hall hosted the Wiggin-Wass Saxophone & Harp duetand the Ferio Saxophone Quartet, both of which have recently enjoyed being reviewed to incredibly high acclaim.
The concert’s first half began with the sublime sound of the saxophone and harp, melting together in Debussy’s Girl with the Flaxen Hair from his Preludes Book 1 (1909-10) & Arabesque No.1 in E major(1888-91), both pieces painting their own pictures and being brought to life effortlessly by the performers: Huw Wiggin & Oliver Wass. As we proceeded further into the first half, we heard a staggeringly good solo harp rendition of the unashamedly lively Spanish Dance No.1 from ‘La Vida Breve’, by Manuel de Falla, whose Spanish flair was at the forefront of this exquisitely exciting performance. Continuing with the Spanish theme, the finale to the first half was the furiously brilliant Fantaisie Brillante sur des airs de ‘Carmen’by Francois Borne, arranged by Iwan Roth & Raymond Meylan.
After a well-earned rest, the audience returned to the auditorium for an equally thrilling second half performance, this time by the Ferio Saxophone Quartet. Starting off the second half of the concert, the quartet performed for us J.S Bach’s Italian Concerto, BWV 971, arranged by Tocchio (movements 1 & 3) and Ferio themselves (movement 2). This well-known work was performed in a way that not many who attended could have imagined, but in a way that all appreciated and enjoyed. Bringing this wonderful concert to a close, were two performances of contemporary works – one of which was commissioned by Ferio: Quartet in F minor for Saxophone Quartet (movements 3&4) by Hugo Reinhart and Ciulades (selections) by Guillermo Lago. These two works showed the astounding range of tonal variation and technical flexibility of each individual performer and instrument, in an eye-opening manner.
All would agree that this concert was a one of a kind event, showcasing two ensembles at the height of their professional career, in one spectacular evening. What a start to the musical offerings of Millfield Music School in 2019!