Ferio Saxophone Quartet
Brighton Dome Studio Theatre
10 May

Huw Wiggin made a welcome return to the Studio Theatre and this year brought along three fellow saxophone enthusiasts to make up a quartet of instruments.

Introducing the concert, Wiggin said the group liked to show the versatility of the saxophone. And who would have guessed that this combo would have leant itself so well to the creation of such a superbly varied programme?

Jean-Baptiste Singelée was one of the first composers to treat the saxophone seriously and wrote pieces for his friend Adolphe Sax, inventor of this hybrid instrument. Singelée’s First Quartet opened the concert and it was a revelation to discover how well the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones could deliver a classical piece with such grace and subtlety.

More modern compositions by Michael Torke and Jean Rivier allowed the musicians to express delicate harmonies, with execution that was full of expression.

The quartet’s dexterity was fully realised in Guillermo Lago’s brilliant Ciudades, an ongoing series of sketches from cities including Tokyo, Sarajevo and Addis Ababa, which captured the scintillating atmospheres of these places in all their vibrant and haunting beauty.

This was the kind of festival performance that, out of the unexpected, lifted the lid on a new world of sound.