Ensembles & Orchestral Concert with Southbank Sinfonia

The annual visit from Southbank Sinfonia to the College is always a real treat, and this year was no exception. What an incredible experience the students receive when they have the opportunity to play side by side a professional orchestra for rehearsals, one-to-one tuition, and a concert.

Opening with The Cat Suite & Another Cat, the Brass Ensemble gave an exciting glimpse into the world of felines, with a particularly velvety and deliciously warm jazziness that brought smiles and laughter to the beginning of the concert.

Brasser followed with a trio of diverse, yet well-programmed pieces. The sharp and brittle Gavorkna Fanfare by Stamp pierced through the Memorial Hall. When the Stars Began to Fall gave way to a much more sonorous and longing sound; based on My Lord, What a Mornin, the ensemble were able to convey sentiments of a time when there will be no more sorrow or pain most delicately. Their final piece was Gandalf the Wizard, the first movement from the Lord of the Rings Symphony by Johan de Meij; this piece conveyed an excellent impression of the character of Gandalf – wise, noble, and unpredictable… a bit like their conductor, AJA!

After a seamless reset of the stage masterminded by the ever-fabulous GMA, Ross Norman, the String Chamber Orchestra took to the stage, playing an exciting rendition of Percy Grainger’s Handel in the Strand; MJB certainly had a work-out on the Piano! Suk’s Serenade for Strings followed; a splendid representation of one of his more cheerful compositions that ended with the most spectacular diminuendo to nothing, expertly crafted by HMHS.

And then the Memorial Hall went silent. Patiently waiting, on tenterhooks for Jess Faber (CO, U6) to play the opening movement of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2. It was certainly worth the wait … poised and relaxed, Jess shaped each and every note with brilliance, making the piano sing alongside the depth of the orchestral accompaniment. The concert closed with Wagner’s overture to The Mastersingers; a resounding and defined conclusion to a fabulous concert masterminded by PTD.

To all the students involved – congratulations! Playing alongside professional musicians is no easy task, but rising to the challenge with excellent aplomb, they performed exceptionally well.

A wonderful concert with some outstanding music, and fantastic performances by everyone.

Bravo, all!

Adam Staines


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