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Music club

THE 2018/19 season came to a lively end at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor on Friday, 29 March, with a fine performance from the Laefer Saxophone Quartet, who had earlier visited the Ysgol Bro Idris primary site and delighted Key Stage 2 pupils with their ‘demo’ introductions to the saxophone family – soprano, alto, tenor and baritone.

‘Listen with your imagination’ was their clear message to the children and one that was easy to apply in the opening item of their evening recital, four Old Hungarian Dances by Ferenc Farkas. Gabriel Pierné’s variations on a ‘ronde populaire’ also gave listeners ready access to colourful dance images, as did Thierry Escaich’s Tango Virtuoso.

Several numbers were arrangements of wellknown pieces for string quartet, for example Puccini’s Crisantemi and the first movement of Ravel’s in Quartet in F. The fugue from Mendelssohn’s Capriccio Op 81 brought the first half to a stunning close.

Equally effective was the last piece of all, written directly for these instruments – the finale of Glazunov’s 1932 Saxophone Quartet Op 109, a romantic piece with Russian roots.

But before this came a still more remarkable number, Ciudades by the still-living Guillermo Lago, a brilliant evocation of the ambience of four cities: Montevideo (sad tangos), Tokyo (bustle), Sarajevo (wounded by atrocities) and Addis Ababa (rhythmic excitement).

The sound world of each section sprang directly from the unique power of the saxophone, or rather, of these four expressive instruments combined.

Led by Philip Attard on tenor, the quartet seemed perfectly matched in terms of skill, ensemble and fluency of presentation.

Their encore, a sonorous arrangement of Suo Gân, showed sensitivity to their audience, and won grateful enthusiasm for so rewarding a performance.

The club wished to thank the Countess of Munster Musical Trust for helping to make it possible.

Picture: Phillip Attard, tenor; Amy Green, Soprano; Rusne Mikiskaite, alto; and Stephen Sheperd, baritone.

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