Royal Overseas League Gold Medal Winner and Royal Academy of Music professor Huw Wiggin has a new album of saxophone music. Reflections is a personal collection of
Huw’s playing challenges assumptions about the saxophone. In some respects I think its the most challenging instrument to market, one that the audience pigeon-holes in rock, jazz or 80s pop.
But in the right hands, the sound of a soprano sax
You can hear what I mean in the second movement of the Marcello – a soft persistent legato glides gently over gallant chords in the piano accompaniment. Wiggin resists melancholy or over-sentimentality, creating something brimming with strong-jawed pride. In a similar way, the deeply personal Du bist die Ruh sings in a way I rarely hear the saxophone sound. And whilst I’m on the subject of
The notable delight on the album is a recording of French composer Paule Maurice’s work Tableaux de Provence – a rich sophisticated evocation of Provence-life in
Much of what I’ve come to really appreciate in this entire album is the recording technique. That’s not to do play down Huw Wiggin’s or pianist John Lenehan’s work, but it is the mix of sounds – a sometimes forte-piano sound from the keyboard combined with a saxophone that muffles the movement of the keys and doesn’t make too much of the articulation – that challenges the assumptions I referred to earlier.
And having listened to the album a number of times over the past month or so, I’d put it up there on my top ten list of