The BASBWE Conference on Sunday 27th March 2011 featured a significant number of world premieres, not least of which was saxophonist Tim Watson’s impressive performance of an exciting and compelling new work by the talented young British composer, Peter Meechan.
Commencing with an arresting and dramatic opening section for solo saxophone, it was clear from the outset that this work would be an effective showcase for Tim’s obvious technical facility and control, as well as demonstrating his ability to engage with the quasi-big band undertones of the work.
The first entry of the wind orchestra captured the somewhat sinister undertones of the piece, Tim’s solo playing creating an eerie atmosphere as it emerged from the midst of the often dark and forbidding band textures. An evocative central slow section accompanied by vibraphone was sandwiched between sections of real virtuosity, where although capturing an improvisatory feel, Tim might perhaps have exploited the opportunity to be a little more flexible and soloistic, especially as the generous acoustic of the Hall tended to a loss of clarity and projection when the band was fully scored.
There was a powerful build to the climax of the work, benefitting from well-judged and controlled tempi from the conductor, John Holland, who demonstrated a real ‘feel’ for the work. To conclude, the audience was fortunate to hear a memorable and committed performance by soloist and band of a work that is worthy of a place in the core repertory.
Professor Linda Merrick