Review: Chamber Music Concert

Between the First and Second World Wars my mother helped a former actress run a boarding house in St John’s Wood, London. This particularly attracted students of the Royal Academy of Music. There would be some 20 to 25 students at a time. They would stay (in term times) for upwards of three years. The houses rang with the sound of music between 9am and 9pm – pianos, violins, cellos, woodwind and the occasional trumpet, not to mention several singers. I had inherited no musical talent from my mother but loved the variety of sounds that echoed through the two houses.

I have never lost my delight in listening to talented young people performing great music whether or not they aspire to become professional musicians. There is, I think, a special delight in the freshness, the enthusiasm, the promise of aspiring young musicians. All that was brought back to me in one of the most delightful concerts it has been my privilege to attend the concert on Friday 3rd May in St George’s Church, Preshute. Three fine soloists, playing recorder, viola, and oboe respectively – Emily Ambrose (MO Re), Miya Scott (MO L6), and Alice Wood (MO L6) – gave sparkling performances of concerti by Vivaldi, Telemann, and J S Bach. How very appropriate that, apart from two teachers (on violin and continuo) they mirrored the practice at the Ospedale della Pieta where Vivaldi trained the institution’s orphaned girls! The performances of the soloists and their accompanists were wonderfully lively, full of a vivacious freshness. The choice of repertoire was perfect for the occasion and was warmly received by the audience. The concert concluded with a little gem from the twentieth century – William Walton’s Touch Her Soft Lips and Part from Olivier’s film based on Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Two final points: There was an excellent programme (for which no charge was made) and the retiring collection was destined for Naomi House and Jacksplace. Altogether a most enjoyable, refreshing, and – yes – exciting evening. I am sure all who attended wish the young women who wish to pursue a career in music the success they richly deserve.

Peter Davison
A member of St George’s Church, Preshute

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