Sax Forte to play English and French works at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel return

Sax Forte: Sax to the max from Chris Hayes, Keith Schooling, Jane Parkin and David Badcock

YORK saxophone quartet Sax Forte will return to St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York, on October 1 to open York Unitarians’ new season of Friday concerts with a 12.30pm programme of English and French music.

Sax Forte formed in York in 2016, with all four member, Chris Hayes, Keith Schooling, Jane Parkin and David Badcock, having extensive experience with other quartets, bands and orchestras.

Introducing themselves, Sax Forte say: “Chris plays soprano sax because he likes showing off; Keith plays alto sax because he tries to keep up with Chris; Jane plays baritone sax because she’s got the strongest shoulders; David knows his place (with apologies to The Two Ronnies and John Cleese)!”

Looking forward to Friday’s concert, they say: “We’re all thrilled to be invited to play at the Unitarian Chapel again, now that social-distancing restrictions have been relaxed.

“Since July, we’ve been lucky enough to play for a number of events, and it has  been immensely exciting after so many months of lockdowns and  prohibitions. Performing for a live audience again brings a renewed sense of purpose.” 

The saxophone is more commonly associated with jazz, blues and pop, but Sax Forte demonstrate just how well the instrument suits a far wider range of music.

“The saxophone was not invented until the mid-19th century, but Friday’s programme includes arrangements of earlier classical and baroque pieces, as well some traditional folk tunes that have been re-arranged for four saxes,” say Sax Forte. 

“We’ll also play a selection of 19th and 20th century works composed specifically for saxophone quartet. Our programme is drawn mainly from English and French composers, and we hope to show the range, versatility, sensitivity and beauty of the saxophone.”

Sax Forte will perform Jean-Joseph Mouret’s Rondeau from Sinfonie de Fanfares; Jean-Baptiste Singelée’s Allegro de Concert; Gabriel Grovlez’s Petite Litanies de Jésus; Pierre Vellones’ Prélude & Rondo Français; Eugène Bozza’s Andante, from Andante & Scherzo; Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane and Henry Purcell’s Rondeau (Abdelazer Suite).

Further works will be: Handel’s And The Glory Of The Lord (from Messiah); William Byrd’s Pavane for the Earl of Salisbury; Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite: Mattachins; George Butterworth’s arrangement of Banks Of Green Willow; Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Linden Lea; Caryl Florio’s Quartette (Allegro de Concert) and Gordon Lewin’s arrangement of The Poacher.

The next Friday Concert will feature Chris Hill and Amy Butler, flute and piano, playing works by Mendelssohn, Poulenc, Chaminade, on October 8; then, Stephen Raine, piano, October 22, and Lucy Phillips and David Hammond, violin and piano, October 29.

Tickets for each concert cost £5 on the door; cash only.