Midwinter is the third release from saxophonist Christian Forshaw and his Sanctuary Ensemble and is a collection of ten beautifully crafted arrangements of seasonal songs, hymns and carols. The Sanctuary Ensemble are Christian Forshaw (saxophone), Jeremy Holland-Smith (organ), Grace Davidson (soprano voice), Ian Cape (percussion) and The Sanctuary Voices.
Forshaw collaborates with co-musician Jeremy Holland-Smith on the ten arrangements, together creating an alternative take on the Advent and Christmas season. Midwinter opens with a powerful setting of Veni Emmanuel encapsulating Forshaw’s style of simple and emotive music with improvised saxophone solos and Grace Davidson’s clear soprano tone. The tracks vary from the calmer settings of Coventry Carol, Es ist ein’ Ros’ and In the Bleak Midwinter, to the child-like Little Drummer Boy, to the more cinematic and Celtic arrangements of Noël Nouvelet and My Dancing Day.
Midwinter follows Forshaw’s two previous successful recordings with the Sanctuary Ensemble: his debut album Sanctuary in 2004 and follow up album Renouncement released in 2007. Tracks from both albums are regularly played on Classic FM and BBC Radio 2 and have been featured on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC 1 TV. Sanctuary also reached number 1 in the Amazon Classical Charts and the track Mortal Flesh was nominated for the 2005 Classical Brits.
The Sanctuary Ensemble have performed throughout the UK at venues including Southwell Minster, Bristol Cathedral, St John’s College Chapel (Cambridge), St Martin-in-the-Fields (London), and the Royal Northern College of Music.
CHRISTIAN FORSHAW graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1995 and he was appointed Professor of Classical Saxophone at GSMD in 2002. As a soloist Christian has performed with ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, English National Opera, Scottish Ensemble, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10 and the Brno Philharmonic. He works with the contemporary ensembles Notes Inégales, Icebreaker, the Composers Ensemble and Endymion. He also plays regularly with the Philharmonia and BBC Symphony Orchestra.