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Sax Circus

CD recording

Artist(s): The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain
Genres: Ballad, Blues, Classical, Contemporary, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Swing, Traditional, Various


This is the third compact disc from the NSC's own label. It contains 12 tracks lasting just under the hour and embraces an extraordinary range of material presumably from their public concert repertoire. For those who haven't seen the choir, (I have and at the last RNCM Saxophone Day, they were absolutely stunning) there is a core contingent of three each of the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones supplemented by one each soprillo, sopranino, bass, tubax, and contra-bass plus two percussionists. Performance standards on the CD are superb; faultless intonation, balance, tutti, soloists and ensemble work throughout. The recording quality is excellent and the entire project sets a gold standard for competence. ..... .....Six of the tracks were delivered via arrangements which had the effect of evoking an 'alternative' sort of ensemble. For example: Overture from The Magic Flute and Bolero, evoked a symphony orchestra, although Nigel Wood's arrangement/soprillo playing in and Richard Ingham's direction of the Ravel was a good deal more exciting than many others I've heard. My Bonny Boy and bits of Cuban Overture reminded me of a concert band and Dowd's Favourite deliberately set out to sound like a folk group. ....The remaining six tracks deliver much of the gorgeous sonic potential of 17 saxes played in tune, the true raison díÍtre for a saxophone choir. Roger May is the NSC's Composer-in-Residence and his Simon's Mangrove Groove is a masterpiece of writing for the group. Superb! Sax Circus, the title track, also by May, is a virtuoso comedic piece... ...Oblivion, a composition by Piazzolla and arranged by K. Veen is my favourite track although another Nigel Wood arrangement of Over the Rainbow, comes a close second. Finally the ever popular, with the public at least (and it's the paying public that pays the bills), Bohemian Rhapsody from Freddie Mercury gives a nod to the pop fans with the full-blown sound of 17 horns. An excellent production. Recommended.
Kenneth Morris - Clairnet & Saxophone Magazine, Autumn 2010

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