Review: Delta Saxophone Quartet, York St John University

Exemplary musicians: Delta Saxophone Quartet
25 Nov 2013 @ 10.58 am
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Exemplary musicians: Delta Saxophone Quartet
Exemplary musicians: Delta Saxophone Quartet

Review: Delta Saxophone Quartet
Venue: University Chapel, York St John University, Friday, November 22

Following the meditative interweaving textures of Arvo Part’s Summa, the Delta Saxophone Quartet delivered a stunning snapshot of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Run Riot.

Bell Run was both immediate and distinctive, the punchy articulated delivery was just right. Rita’s Regret was a short, moving movement. I am really looking forward to hearing the complete work which was commissioned by the Quartet to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

The dynamic ebb and flow delivery in Philip Glass’ Mishima Quartet (first movement) really brought the movement to life. I actually preferred this transcription to the original string quartet version.

David Lancaster’s Swan was a very impressive work. The opening had a mysterious, almost elemental sound that was very distinctive. The transition to a funky, driven last section was as pleasing as it was unexpected. The playing was exemplary.

David Power’s Shades II proved to be a little gem. What struck me was the economy of the piece, the musical distillation of the piece in terms not only of melody and harmony, but structure too.

In between the two works sat Steve Reich’s masterpiece, New York Counterpoint. Original member Chris Caldwell introduced the piece pointing out that the pre-recorded material included two members of the Quartet who were no longer with them. They didn’t turn up for much of the performance either!

Nevertheless, the Quartet captured the vitality of this music, bubbling with urban delight. The music is both complex and immediate, the playing utterly compelling and infectious.

The concert ended on a high with superb transcriptions of Soft Machine’s Hugh Hopper by Chris Caldwell, Issie Barratt and Mike Smith.