Nigel Wood's Soprillogy - the first ever album dedicated to the world's tiniest saxophone – is already attracting accolades and airtime. International sax superstar Snake Davis has described the CD as "a masterpiece" and renowned soloist, composer, educator and editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone Richard Ingham has greeted it as "An astonishing display of technical bravura, displaying outstanding musicianship and a fearless head for heights." It's already been featured on Chris Gumbley's BBC Radio Shropshire's Jazzbeat slot.
This is an impressive achievement for the little soprillo, an instrument that only got a lukewarm reaction when its manufacturer Benedikt Eppelsheim first introduced it to the public in 1999. Nigel chanced on it a few years later and immediately adopted it to complete the family of saxes represented in the National Saxophone Choir. It featured in the 2005 premier of Ben Palmer's Chimes and has been an integral element of Choir repertoire ever since.
However, Nigel soon realized that it had far more potential than a mere piccolo-equivalent, and so commissioned Philip Buttall to write Waltzing Soprillda (CD track 6), an exhilarating romp through two centuries of musical history. When performed with the Choir at the 2006 World Saxophone Congress in Slovenia it received a standing ovation, and it was this that inspired and encouraged Nigel to assemble the 15 tracks on Soprillogy, all specifically arranged or composed for the Soprillo.
The music encompasses elements of contemporary, world, baroque pastiche, jazz, folk and pop influences but ultimately defies categorization, simply reflecting Nigel's personal, eclectic tastes. Nigel now hopes that the album will provide a resource for future Soprilloists (most of the titles will be published by Saxtet Publications), and an inspiration (even provocation!) to continue his pioneering journey into the heights of the saxophonic world.
Soprillogy Music for the world's smallest saxophone; Nigel Wood (Soprillo), Jonathan Taylor (piano), Karen Street (accordion), Tanya Houghton (harp); SXP002 67.07
On sale from: www.saxtetpublications.com > catalogue > recordings; £12 plus p&p. £2 from every sale to The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain, Registered Charity No. 1124193.
Clare Mackney reports from the World Sax Congress, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 8th July 2006:
"Whoops of appreciation for the NSC at the World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, leave no room for doubt - the choir has well and truly arrived on the international scene!....
....Nigel [Wood] and his soprillo brought the house down with Waltzing Soprillda. This was more than an incredulous, spur-of-the-moment response to Nigel's ability to control this tiny little instrument and make it sing – immediately after the concert the national radio snapped Nigel up for an interview, and Slovene composer Igor Krivokapic has completed a piece for soprillo and harp called Milina [which will be published by Saxtet Publications shortly].
Clare was representing the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain and her Congress report will appear in the December 2006 issue of CASS magazine.