Water's Edge - Saxophone Reflections

Released in November 2016

Testimonials for Water's Edge - Saxophone Reflections

"Listening to Saira means listening to a musician who has completely fallen in love with her instrument and the music she is playing. Extraordinary! I am thankful for having had the chance to listen to her."

- Cord Meijering, composer -

"Saira’s sound is inspiring"

- Stefan Hakenberg, composer. -

"Saira plays with a sensitivity and brilliance which speaks to the hearts of the listeners."

- Linda Bangs-Urban, founder member of the Rascher Saxophone Quartet. -

Track Listing and Bonus Material

None but the lonely Heart

I’ve played this tune sometimes in my saxophone recitals. I’ve always known it as Op.6 No 6. from Tchaikovsky’s set of six romances for voice and piano. But in the Salvation Army there are words from the pen of Will J. Brand published under the title A Pilgrim-Prayer. The words speak of the Christian Pilgrim longing to have his Lord listen to his prayers – and even though the prayers may be hesitant, that they will surely reach Him.

Pleading, I call to Thee; bow down and hear me,
Not from Thy distant throne but draw Thou near me;
A sign doth move Thy heart, a tear beseech Thee,
Lord! e’en my falt’ring prayer must surely reach Thee.
Longing, I turn to Thee, desire a waking
For that same Living Bread which Thou art breaking;
For Wine, Thy life in me so richly flowing,
For love like Thine in ev’ry action showing,
For grace to tread the path which Thou art taking.

 Trusting, I lean on Thee; Thy hand shall hold me;
And if the shadows fall and darkness fold me,
No evil will I fear with Thee beside me;
Lord wilt be light to me, Thy steps shall guide me.
Friend of my pilfrim heart it’s Burden Bearer
E’en as I walk with Thee all life grows fairer;
Oh. Hold me in the path wherein Thou goest,
With glad contentment that the way Thou showest
Thy feet ere now have trod, Divine Wayfarer.

Heaven came down

I remember singing this melody when I attended Sunday School at the URC church. I didn’t really know the full meaning of the words I was just fascinated by the lilting rhythm. Becoming a Salvationist this is now my testimony.

O what a wonderful, wonderful day, Day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Saviour I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart!

Vocalise

Op. 34, No. 14, is a song by Sergi Rachmaninoff dedicated to Antonina Nezhdanova composed and published in 1915 as the last of his "Fourteen Songs", Op. 34.Written for high voice with piano accompaniment. It contains no words, but is sung using any one vowel (of the performers’ choosing). I love playing this melody, it just plays itself and can sing almost any emotion you try to portray. I wanted the listener to feel a sense of abandonment and loss.

Vacances

This beautiful melody has been my encore number for many concerts and recitals. The melody sings above a rich chunky piano part that rises and falls

Water’s Edge

If there was one composer I would have loved to meet, its Ray Steadman-Allen. Everyone speaks so warmly about him and when my husband was studying at Canterbury university he attended Chatham Corps and he had the privilege of getting to know him. To pay homage to the time Adam spent at Chatham, I wanted to include an RSA number, the challenge was to choose just one from the vast list published by the Salvation Army under his name. When I first heard Water’s Edge I fell in love with the melody, the words too. The words by Brigadier Miriam Richards tell how Jesus taught by the seaside and took a nearby boat to teach the multitudes that thronged and how they were taught about the kingdom of God.

Jesus taught by the seaside;
A boat was at hand, set close to the land,
And there by the seaside, by the seaside,
Where the multitudes thronged on the strand,
He taught of the kingdom of God.
Even yet, by the sea,
Down where the wavelets lap soft on the shore,
I think of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus walked by the seaside
And called men to dare and follow Him there;
To come from the seaside, from the seaside
And to join Him in labour and prayer,
And enter the kingdom of God.
Even yet, by the sea,
Down where the wavelets lap soft on the shore,
I think of the kingdom of God.

Aria

I was first introduced to this melody by Bruce Weinberger my saxophone tutor when I lived in Switzerland and it has been a special piece to me ever since. The melody is haunting and yet sweet - with a sense of heartbreak and remorseful tones in the middle. It was a special moment when recording this with Elliot, the atmosphere in the studio was very charged!

Let’s Celebrate

When I made the decision to become a Salvation Army solider my new friends at Leighton Buzzard were so excited they just wanted to celebrate. This is a celebration song about the coming of Christ born as a baby. The composer Andrew Blyth is well known in The Salvation Army and has known and encouraged my husband since his was a little boy. The powerful lyrics from William Hastings are given a dazzling upbeat rhythm by Andrew. I hope you get a sense of the enjoyment we had recording this track as well as the excitement we all share as Christians in celebrating the birth of Christ each Christmas.

Refrain
Come on and sing! Let’s celebrate!
Celebrate the coming to earth of Jesus.
Praise his holy name, Celebrate the Prince of Peace.
Come on and sing! Let’s celebrate!
Celebrate the coming to earth of Jesus.
Praise our mighty God, Celebrate the King of kings.

 

 

1.The Saviour came this world to serve, his life freely gave;
So we must give our lives in service today.
He came with love that men would seek the love of God
And know their hearts from sin could be free.
He came with pow’r that men could build a better world
And live in love eternally.

 2.The Saviour came this world to save, his life sacrificed;
So we must lift our songs to praise him each day.
He came with hope that men would seek a better way
And know their world reborn then could be.
He came with joy that men could have true happiness
and live in peace and harmony.
Celebrate the promise of God

 

Begin the Day with God

One Sunday I was asked to play a saxophone solo during the morning service. Accompanied by Adam I played this piece that was unknown to me as was the composer. Apart from being the very first solo I played in an Army hall, this piece was my introduction to the wealth of music published by The Salvation Army. Eric Ball takes the reflective lyrics of May Pike and in my opinion has produced a perfect match of words and music.

Begin the day with God!
My waking thought a swift appeal
Ere to the waiting task I turn,

 Thine aid to feel.
Begin the day with God!
O offer sacrifice anew,
Myself, my time, my service give,
The whole day through.

 Begin the day with God!
A hymn of praise
My heart shall sing;
The theme of Love’s redeeming
power triumphant ring!

Bring him Home

The lyrics and melody of ‘Bring Him Home’ became an ear worm after my husband and I went to see this show, so much so that we just kept singing it together for days.

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there

 He is young
He's afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed.

 Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

 He's like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son.
The summers die
One by one
How soon they fly
On and on
And I am old
And will be gone.

 Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young
He is only a boy

 You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

Other Sheep

When I visit my in-laws I like to spend time in their music room and look through the library of Army music they have. One day I came across the manuscript music for Other Sheep. I had no idea who Joy Webb was but I came to hear how my mother-in-law was a Sunbury Junior Singer and at one time Singing Company Leader at Maidenhead. It was during that time that Joy used Maidenhead Singing Company in some recordings. This track was not recorded but used for another event when the Singing Company, conducted by Joy, sang at the Methodist Central Hall Westminster. The lyrics are also by Joy.

I am the Good Shepherd I give my life for the sheep,
All who come before me are not concern the safety of my flock to keep,
I am the Good Shepherd I know my sheep by name,
And tho’ they may wander causing me concern, my love remains the same,
Other sheep have I not amongst the fold, I must bring them also,
They will hear my voice and will my love behold,
Other sheep have I not amongst this fold, They will hear my Voice
Calling them to make their choice, Other sheep have I.

Ave Maria

I hold a concert for my instrumental students twice a year and one of my students presented this piece. It’s such a popular and much-recorded setting of the Latin text Ave Maria and the melody was used by Bach who superimposed it over his prelude No. 1 in C major. It’s just so beautiful I just had to play it.

Hail Maria
Full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb, Jesus
Holy Maria, Holy Maria
Maria, pray for us
Us sinners
Now and in the hour
Of our death
Amen

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

I’ve already mentioned my in-law’s music room. As well as a piano there is a range of brass instruments and a string bass as well as a cabinet full of music. One day whilst I was doing some saxophone practice I started to play through music already on the music stand and came across this solo. Written for solo trombone and wind band, I think you’ll agree it works just as well for saxophone.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.

 I looked over Jordan, what do I see,
Coming for to carry me home.
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

 Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.

Jesus paid it all

After moving to Manchester we linked up with the Salvation Army Corps in Sale. During Easter weekend the Songsters sang this song ‘Jesus paid it all. Thewords from Elvina Hall (no relation) and music from John Grape are well known in the US. As the Songsters sang, the words made such an impact on me I just had to record it for this album.

I can hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all

Refrain:Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

 Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone

 For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim
I'll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calvary's Lamb

 And when before thy throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

 

Cindy Noel

Stephen Bulla wrote this catchy tune for the jazz trombonist Herb Bruce for his album Everlasting Love. Played in a Zydeco Grove this track brings to this album the style of music I play in my professional life. Playing at wedding receptions the object is to get people on the dance floor. I dare you to sit motionless during this exciting track.

In this quiet moment

When I heard this song being sung by Leighton Buzzard Songsters during a Sunday morning service I was challenged by the powerful lyrics from John Gowans, ‘In this quiet moment, make a better me’. All the years that I had been angry with God for things that had happened melted away. I wanted to be a better person and accepted God into my heart and life.

In this quiet moment, still, before your throne,
Conscious of your presence, knowing I am known,
In this quiet moment set my spirit free;
In the quiet moment, make a better me!

Med en Primula veris & En Drom

I first heard these Grieg songs played by Harry White whilst studying for my Masters degree in Germany. The cascading melodies are a joy to play. Med en Primula veris Opus 26 Nr.4 ranslates as ‘The first primrose’ or sometimes known as the Mayflower. En Drom, Opus 48 Nr.6 or ‘A Dream’ and is a thought to be one of the oldest known secular songs in the Nordic countries.

Med en Primula veris

 You mild spring, beautiful child,
Take the first spring plum,
and cast it not aside, because you know
that Summer’s roses come.

 Alas, bright and beautiful is summer’s light
and rich is life’s harvest,but spring is lovelier
with the pleasure and caprice of love.

 And you and I, my slender maiden,
are we not flushed with the spring?
So take my flower
and give back your young heart’s sweetness.

 En Drom

I saw once in a dream a beautiful maiden, so fine and pure.
We sat on the forest’s light edge among Spring’s young trees.
And the bud burst and the river swelled.
The distant village’s noise and sound by us in our arbor was heard
where we sat hidden in blessed happiness.
But much more than a dream life itself became a lovely day.
It was on the forest’s light edge and under Spring’s light canopy.
And the river swelled and the bud burst, and all was distant.
Only you were close, and at my breast I held you firm
Now I will never let you go again!
Never more! Never more!
O moment of meeting on the edge of the forest, with Spring’s light, airy canopy!
There my day became a dream, there my dream became a wonderful day!

My Jesus, I love Thee

I had to add a track in this album that referenced Maidenhead Citadel Band, the home Corps of my husband. They are a Corps brass band who happy to have saxophone’s in their band, I love it. The band also sing on their programme and this song, words by William Ralph Featherstone was an arrangement for male voices.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

 I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

 In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

 

Our Father

To finish this album, I wanted to turn to a prayer and what better prayer could there be than the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, the Lord’s Prayer. And with this arrangement I thank the Soldiers and friends of Leighton Buzzard Corps for their support, guidance and prayer for me. Gordon Camsey was my very kind and supportive Bandmaster at Leighton Buzzard and I thank him for his patience whilst I was learning the euphonium!

For Thine is the Kingdom the power and glory, for ever and ever, Amen

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