Ferio Saxophone Quartet, St John’s Smith Square, 8 December 2016

Slightly scruffy look for SJSS, even at lunchtime

You don’t see a lot of all saxophone combos. So much so, that when I saw the Ferio Saxophone Quartet concert listed for Thursday lunchtime on a day that I had kept clear for a client meeting that had been deferred until the new year, I thought, “I’ll give that a try”.

Naturally, I cut things a bit fine, trying to finish off some work before heading off for SJSS and then realising that I hadn’t really allowed much margin for error on timing.

Fortunately a Circle Line train came quite quickly. Then, at South Kensington, all of a sudden I could hear a Saxophone combo on the train, playing Hit The Road Jack very well indeed. I looked along the carriage and there indeed were several saxophonists giving it plenty. I managed to snap a couple of them with my smart phone camera.

“Perhaps the Ferio lot are also cutting it a bit fine for the gig,” I thought, “although they look a bit scruffy for SJSS, even at lunchtime.”

Between Sloane Square and Victoria, the combo played Blue Moon very well indeed. But clearly they weren’t the Ferio lot, as the “Anonymous Saxtet” got off the tube at Victoria, after relieving me and others of our small change (voluntarily I hasten to add).

I concluded that saxophone combos are like buses and tubes. You wait what seems like a lifetime for one, then two come along one after the other.

In the end I got to SJSS just a tiny bit late, but in true lunchtime concert fashion they let us latecomers slide in at the back of the hall and then move forward after the first piece. The first piece was a Bach Prelude and Fugue and I reckon I caught most of the Prelude as well as the Fugue.

When I moved forward between pieces, a kindly couple made extra space for me so I could remove my hat and coat quickly, take up an excellent seat and then they also gave me a look at their programme (I picked up my own copy at the end). I’m sure that nice couple would even have shared their sandwiches with me had they brought sandwiches, but they hadn’t. SJSS lunchtime concerts are not really “eat your sandwiches in the concert” type lunchtime concerts.

This was the Ferio String Quartet Concert I heard – link to SJSS site here.

Just in case SJSS archiving isn’t up to snuff, here is the same page saved on Ogblog.

They were very good indeed, the Ferio Saxophone Quartet. I especially enjoyed their arrangement of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, which was the centrepiece of the concert really.

The concert was very well attended – 150+ people, I’d guess, perhaps even 200 if you count the sniffly but very attentive outing of schoolkids.

The Ferios are doing a short residency at SJSS and there are a couple more gigs to go next spring. Here is a link to a short vid the quartet made about the concert I heard and their residency.

The next concert, on 23 April 2017, is all British music entitled Best of British, which seems to me a wasted opportunity. Left up to me, that concert would have been named:

Yes, Sax Please, We’re British…

…but unfortunately such marketing matters never seem to be left up to me. I can’t imagine why not.

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