The annual Music Scholars’ Gala Concert, held in the excellent David Josefowitz Hall at London’s Royal Academy of Music, is a bespoke and high-end occasion. It showcases the majority of our talented music scholars in an eclectic programme of chamber music, arguably one of the greatest musical mediums and one which offers a treasure trove of possibilities spanning five centuries. All departments were on show: strings, woodwind, brass, percussion and choral, reflecting the ongoing diversity and ambition of music at Marlborough.
The nine piece brass ensemble opened proceedings with a well-crafted performance of Gabrielli’s Sonata pian’e forte, which was followed by the budding Remove and Hundred String Ensembles in some neat and nimble Vivaldi and a quirky, humorous tango respectively.
Elliot R and Gongpob P delivered a rousing rendition of ‘Crossfire’ by Alex Neal, which was followed by Berger’s tricky String Trio, admirably navigated by Dima M, Lottie V and Hamish M. Freddie V and Elliot R then changed the mood quite beautifully with Dave McGarry’s ‘Dreams of You’, with Poppy M and Bella B offering an amusing presentation of Rebecca Clarke’s ‘The Tailor and his Mouse’, before Chicha N and Oli R rounded out the first half with a thoroughly engaging performance of Debussy’s Petite Suite.
Bella B’s gorgeous solo in Stanford’s ‘The Blue Bird’ was expertly accompanied by the Compline Choir; Emily C, Lara R and Liv M produced a highly polished flute trio and Molly D delivered the only solo work of the evening on piano with considerable aplomb.
The penultimate work in the concert was Dvorak’s evergreen String Quartet ‘The American’. This featured Poppy M, Allegra H, Lottie V and Mrs Johnson in a fine performance brimming with precision and notable chamber music awareness. The evening closed with an hilarious version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ for String Trio, with the impressive aforementioned quartet (minus Mrs J) once again at the helm.
The audience was undoubtedly captivated throughout – and why wouldn’t they be – because this was a concert of the highest order.