The "Music at Noon" concert series at Western Presbyterian Church featured a unique program yesterday by the Washington Saxophone Quartet. This local group, now nearly 10 years old, is organized along the lines of similar European ensembles consisting of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.
The quartet's repertoire necessarily consists of transcriptions as well as original works and, not surprisingly, the most impressive playing came in the original works -- "Fanfare" by Arthur Frackenpohl, "Three Conversations" by Paul Pierne' and the second movement from Glazunov's Quartet, Op. 109.
The Glazunov rightly occupied the central position on the program, as it offered both the greatest musical substance and the best use of the individual timbres and ensemble capabilities inherent in this type of instrumental grouping.
As for the transcriptions, an organ work by Sweelinck and three movements from Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3, the players tended to treat them more as showpieces, concentrating on the technical and ensemble requirements rather than on making the music sound as stylistically convincing as one would expect. Nonetheless, there were impressive moments, particularly in the "Air" from the Bach suite, in which Reginald Jackson's soprano playing of the sustained line was hauntingly beautiful.