Listeners were treated to a musical event at a Horsham school
Four impressive young musicians, Annabella Chenevix-Trench (soprano sax), Matt Ward-Perkins (alto sax), Maria Howard (tenor sax), and Owen Purnell (baritone sax) practised tirelessly in preparation for the event, held on February 23, and their hard work certainly paid off.
The programme was impressive, both in its variety and its length: an hour-long recital is demanding for any single chamber ensemble, let alone one made up of sixth-formers.
Ferenc Farkas’ Old Hungarian Dances, based on traditional folk melodies, made an exciting opening gambit, the three dances illustrating the ample contrast in dynamics, texture, and rhythm that can be achieved by such an ensemble.
Mainstays of the repertoire by Singlée, Bozza, Gavin Whitlock, and Timothy Blinko were featured, alongside music derived from the Klezma tradition, arranged by Mike Curtis and Lenny Sayers.
These latter pieces in particular allowed each of the instrumentalists a moment in the sunshine, highlighting the players’ skill as both solo and ensemble performers.
The final foot-tapping fiesta was by celebrated Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, an ambassador for the tango within the classical canon.
It is always a treat to hear his Libertango, and this arrangement for saxophones brought a fresh vitality to the work.
Director of music, Alex Hodgkinson said: “Congratulations to these gifted and dedicated pupils, and thanks to Ms Shevaughan Beere, our wonderful sax teacher and driving force behind the quartet, for her coaching and inspiration and for calmly stepping into the performance when, due to illness, Owen was unable perform.
“It was especially good to see so many pupils – fellow musicians, friends, supporters – in the audience for what was a memorable evening of music-making.”
Annabella Chenevix-Trench is also a member of the National Youth Wind Orchestra and will be taking part in their spring concert at Silk Hall, Radley College, Abingdon on Saturday, April 7 and at Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s in London on April 8.