Sunday, November 22, 2009


Quartet at Chelmsford Cathedral


Wind quartet Exchanging Blows are popular on the lunchtime circuit, but it's been four years since they brought their wide-ranging repertoire to Chelmsford Cathedral.

They began with a breezy Mozart Overture, and ended with an equally sprightly McCartney number: When I'm Sixty-Four.

And the delicious sandwich filling included Bach [a clever arrangement of a movement from the Art of Fugue], an all-too-brief sequence of Byrd's English Dances, and Bechet – Petite Fleur inventively improvised by Pam Campanelli's soprano sax with Jane Sitch at the piano. The other duet was a “macaroni and rich cream” confection: the opening of Mendelssohn's Konzertstuck no 2, with Annie Forrester-Muir and Gail Copsey on clarinets.

The only original piece for saxophone quartet was by the prolific Gordon Jacob; much more interesting, though, was Pam's arrangement of Gavin Whitlock's colourful Celtic Suite, featuring a bewildering variety of instruments.

Moonglow was beautiful, but my favourite this time out was Gershwin's chirpy Nice Work If You Can Get It – nice lunch break too !

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