Christian Forshaw - Midwinter

The Sanctuary ENSEMBLE was formed by Christian Forshaw in the early 1990s, initially as a saxophone and organ duo and later with the addition of voices and percussion. The music is inspired by church music with new settings of traditional texts and arrangements of timeless hymn melodies. The Sanctuary Ensemble has performed at churches and cathedrals throughout the UK and the music received extensive airplay on Classic FM and BBC Radio 2, 3 & 4 as well as BBC1 TV. Midwinter includes Coventry Carol, Little Drummer Boy, In The Bleak Midwinter, Wexford Carol, Veni Emmanuel and My Dancing Day

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"This really is a beautiful album. Christian Forshaw and The Sanctuary Ensemble combine saxophone, organ, voice and percussion to create a refreshingly different and ambient sound. It's not your average Christmas album. It's hard to describe, but if you can imagine Libera, but with a beautiful and haunting saxophone solo added, then it will give you an idea. 'Noël Nouvelet' is gorgeous with a great organ riff and the saxophone giving hints of Eastern Promise. I also love 'I Wonder as I Wander' - beautiful solo voice, with complimentary backing harmonies, and again that haunting saxophone. I love 'Little Drummer Boy' also. It has a great sax riff for bass line. The fifth track is one of the nicest renditions of 'In The Bleak Midwinter' I have heard in a long while. The solo voice is so crystal clear, just as it should be. 'Es Ist Ein' Ros' gives you a warm glow inside. The more I listen to this album, the more the tracks grow on me. Something tells me that I will be listening to this album all year round and not just at Christmas!"  -Grace Poole

"This 39 minute 10-track CD blends the sonorities of a solo saxophone (soprano, alto or baritone) with voice/voices and a church organ within the wonderful acoustic of a Bedfordshire church. The material, principally carols, are beautifully played with exquisite tonality and intonation - so much so that it supports my personal view that many carols are far too good to be played only at Christmas. The core quality of this record however lies with a number of the arrangements the "star" of which is "es ist ein ros" prepared by the organ player Jeremy Holland-Smith - it is magnificent! I can recommend this disk to any sax player and any lover of modern, but entirely accessible, church music." - Kenneth J. Morris

"If you enjoy utterly heavenly music this is for you. in Winter and Christmas especially evocative. I came across this music when a local Minster was hosting a performance, so researched, and found this. Beautiful." - Briony Holyoake

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