Review of Tim Watson performing at the South Coast Proms by Thomas Hodge

By 11th January 2016Reviews

The arrangement of ‘Let it Be’ by Lennon and McCartney was commissioned by Tim Watson for Wind Band and Solo Saxophone and stylishly arranged by Dr. Robin Dewhurst. The performance was an open-air concert and the setting a huge expanse of land with the wind band sheltered in a theatre dome, with a vast array of sound and lighting to create a suitable level of ambience for the audience and listener. The weather and numbers in the crowd created its very own atmosphere with an air of expectation from the musicians and audience alike.

In June 2011, the piece was performed by Tim Watson playing the Soprano and Alto Saxophone, and was accompanied by the Band of Her Majesty’s Marines, Collingwood and Portsmouth (Royal Band). The ensemble was conducted by the Principal Director of Music Royal Marines, Lt Col Nick Grace and compered by Sally Taylor, presenter of BBC South Today.

The piece opened with Tim performing an opening statement on the Soprano Saxophone setting the modern innovative style of the piece from the outset. The pianist, with the support of the ensemble enticed the audience by playing the classic chords sequence of ‘Let it Be’. The solo continued with minimalistic orchestration with the soloist performing the opening statement on the Alto Saxophone, yet another timbre that was refreshing to the ear. Tim performed the verse with authority and a degree of freedom regarding tempo and interpretation,with small embellishments, once again, very tasteful and appropriate in style. The middle section was made interesting witha change of rhythmical and harmonic interest by the arranger. Once again, the audience entranced by the soloist’s sophisticated but refined improvisation, which complimented the musical experience. The performer continued the musical journey with the simplicity of a high long-note leading the listenereffortlesslyto the closing part of the song. The interpretation of this celebrated song was performed with brilliance and finesse, together with moments of beauty and delicacy; in a way, the soloist remained true to the original. The simplicity and expressive nature, vast sound quality and style of the performer was world class. The interpretation and simplicity of the improvisation empowered the audience due to the expressive nature and maturity.

Band Colour Sergeant Tm Watson performed with confidence and a high degree of technical assurance and dexterity. An extremely enjoyable and refreshing performance given by the soloist and ensemble, remaining true to this timeless classic.
Thomas Hodge is the Corps Bandmaster of the Royal Marines. Producer of the South Coast Proms.