Review: Evening Pupils’ Recital

Category: General, Music, Pupil Achievements

When originally planning this concert there could have been a concern that a concert of this nature so early in the term might have fewer participants.  Not a bit of it – in fact, it was fairly bursting at the seams with offers, and what a treat it was. 

So much to admire in age, stage and variety of programme – from solos to chamber, through to larger ensemble works, and it all worked quite beautifully.

Sophie Smith (DA Re) lead from the front with a sophisticated and refined performance, followed by some spirited, brave and well prepared performances from Monty Pretor-Pinney (B1 Sh), Poppy Evans (MM Re), Sasha Hewett (MM L6), Isla Scott (DA Sh), Rose Olver (EL Re) and Sophie Smith (again).  Emily Ambrose (MO Sh) mesmerised the assembled company with some astonishingly virtuosic recorder playing (including playing two recorders at the same time!) followed by a sumptuous Chanson de nuit from Isla Scott.  Brandenburg 6 is a tricky work indeed, but huge credit to Sophie Smith (again), Miya Scott (MO Hu), Issy Haynes, Luke Smith (CO U6), James Wright (C1 U6) and Mr Bartlett for a really commendable and buoyant performance here.  

Next up was the talented Tate Oliphant (MO Hu) with a spot of well-crafted Brahms, then a fragrant and mellifluous display from the Saxophone Quartet, followed by the delicate and intricate tones of Annabel Chessher (LI L6) on guitar (mobile ring tones and all contained within the actual piece).  Pia von Wersebe (CO L6) sprinkled some magic on proceedings, ably assisted by Miya Scott and Jess Faber (CO L6) in Shostakovich’s haunting Prelude whilst Nico Fletcher’s (CO L6) brooding and excellently projected trombone solo from Mahler Symphony no 3 offered superb contrast indeed.  

James Eyles (LI U6) provided yet further colour and charm in Fauré’s gorgeous Fantaisie and Checkie Hamilton (MO U6) delivered a moving and poignant rendition of Purcell’s exquisite Dido’s Lament (bravo) after which Jess Faber presented an impressive (and seemingly effortless) performance of Poulenc’s tricky Toccata.  The penultimate work in this altogether wonderful concert came in the form of Beethoven’s A major cello sonata, delivered here with panache and charisma by Luke Smith.  

Freddie Elmberg was recently awarded a place at the RNCM on the Popular Music course and it’s easy to see why after his performance Winter (composed by Freddie himself).  This was a heartfelt and passionate end to this fabulous concert and one for which every single artist should be heartily congratulated, and that goes for the accompanists, Mr Bartlett and Miss Toomer as well.  Bravo indeed. 

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director

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