Saturday 8 October 2022
Our final mixed ensemble concert of the School year took place last Friday, presenting newly prepared material from Sinfonia, Cathedral Strings, Saxophone Ensemble, String Quartet, Cello Ensemble, and Senior Chamber Choir – not to mention a solo by our BBC Chorister of the Year Finalist, Owen H. It was a particular joy to have so many of our Year 11-13 musicians with us, during their public exam leave. Their support and leadership was keenly felt and very greatly valued.
Beginning with a vibrant orchestral medley of Coldplay Classics, Sinfonia gave a really professional account of themselves, demonstrating, even in the absence of several players, high levels of confidence and musicality throughout. Accurate and stylish playing, supported by well-contrasted dynamics and good intonation ensured a strongly celebratory opening to the concert.
Cathedral Strings were on especially good form, soothing listeners with a moving performance of Karl Jenkins’ Benedictus, featuring west-end trumpets interjections. This was followed by Beethoven’s 5 Secrets (The Piano Guys) - a really effective piece which cleverly wove in subtle references to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, encased in a contemporary shell of minimalism and pop. Throughout, Cathedral Strings impressed with the quality of their tone, expression and ensemble awareness.
Senior Flute Choir, Saxophone Ensemble and String Quartet each delivered high-quality contributions - well-rehearsed and enjoyable to listen to, giving an opportunity to appreciate the respective sonorities of their respective family groups : Hall of the Mountain King (Flutes); Summertime (Saxophones); Eleanor Rigby (String Quartet. Such ensembles always provide excellent technical challenge and extension for players, with a focus on instrument-specific performance practice.
Cello Ensemble really were impressive in their compelling and polished rendition of The Cello Song (The Piano Guys / J.S. Bach), featuring Music Scholar, Kit C. In addition to exploring extended techniques, such as accompanimental cello percussion this wonderfully moving, rhythmically energised and emotionally affirmative reworking of Bach’s original cello Invention was very confidently delivered by the 12-strong ensemble; indeed, seeing the 12 cellos together was a sight to behold in itself!
After a short break, to allow Senior Chamber Choir to commence lining-up, Owen H – BBC Chorister of the Year Finalist, 2022 – absolutely stunned the audience with a commanding and technically outstanding performance of Après un rêve (Fauré), demonstrating seemingly effortless vocal control, purity of tone, flawless intonation, and heartfelt expression.
To conclude, as is generally our custom, Senior Chamber Choir took to the stage. In just five weeks of rehearsal, Chamber Choir had worked hard to perfect two pop song choral arrangements – Here Comes the Sun, and All of Me (John Legend). Our young singers certainly enjoyed the familiar melodies, upbeat rhythms and vocal harmonies, once again demonstrating the joy of singing as part of a large, multi-year-group choir. Many thanks to Mr Bradley and Mr May for their carefully balanced accompaniments.
The Director or Music wishes to sincerely thank all those who were involved with the concert, especially those staff directly responsible for ensembles; huge congratulations to our wonderful pupil musicians for their steadfast commitment and musical enthusiasm. As ever, enormous thanks to our large and appreciative audience!
For more photographs from the concert, please click here