Concert review

Huw Wiggin (saxophone) with Rosanna Rolton (harp)

22nd November 2021

 

An appreciative audience was very pleasantly entertained by the harpist and saxophonist at Penrith Music Club’s latest concert. One would not normally think of putting together the apparently strident and earthy sound of the saxophone with the equally apparent delicate tones of the harp - but you’d be wrong. This was an engaging recital with a wonderful variety of moods and expression.

Huw Wiggin mostly used the soprano saxophone, bringing an appropriately plaintive quality to Ravel’s Pavane pour une infanta defunte and Debussy’s wistful prelude, ‘The Girl with the Flaxen Hair’, before giving Rosanna Rolton the opportunity to play what I suspect is a very little-known Valse Romantique by the same composer.

 

Rosanna explained some of the workings of her elegant harp (from Chicago, we learnt) before effortlessly playing Chopin’s ‘Aeolian Harp’ Etude. Rejoined by Huw, we were treated to a Klezmer-like virtuosic display called Sholem-alekhem by an Argentinian Hungarian, Bela Kovacs to round off the first half of the concert.

Huw’s rendition of Ku Ku by the Australian Barry Cockroft was nothing short of mesmeric, an almost obsessive set of virtuosic variations on birdsong, which at times was quite reminiscent of a Bach solo partita. Two of de Falla songs led to Rosanna’s performance of Granados’ Poetic Waltzes, essentially nine sentimental vignettes.

The summation of the concert was a stunning saxophone and harp sonata by Andy Scott, which Huw preface by saying the composer had written it with difficulty (for Huw) in mind. This was a virtuosic piece for both players (apparently Andy Scott’s wife plays the harp), jazz and klezmer-infused, lyrical  and exciting.

Charles Ritchi



Updated on 25 November 2021
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