Review: Orchestral Concert 

Monday 5th December 2022

On Sunday 4th December, the College Symphony and String Chamber orchestras performed a colourful programme of nineteenth and twentieth century music to an enthusiastic audience in the Memorial Hall. To commence the concert, we were treated to the lyrical melodies of Antonín Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings (first movement), performed by the String Chamber orchestra and directed by Sara Stagg. This small yet skilful chamber ensemble of 23 players was able to produce a wall of sound in their rich rendition of Florence Price’s Adoration. To contrast, Percy Grainger’s upbeat Molly on the Shore was performed with great rhythmic precision and pizzazz.

The stage then filled with the Symphony Orchestra directed by Philip Dukes, who performed Eric Coates’ Youth of Britain March in memory of Queen Elizabeth II. This was an exuberant and uplifting interpretation, making an impactful start to this part of the programme.

Violin soloist Allegra H took to the stage with her masterful performance of Max Bruch’s violin concerto No. 1 in G minor, second movement Adagio. This was played with great musicality and tact and, through eloquent phrasing and rich playing, came some particularly heart stopping moments.

Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2 brought percussion and woodwind further into the spotlight. This featured a particularly buoyant flute solo from Emily C, joined promptly by Sam P and Emilia de B. The final movement of the suite, complete with lively double dotted rhythms, gave an uplifting conclusion to a wonderful concert.

I was particularly pleased to see two new Shell pupils, Arthur J and Elora L joining this advanced ensemble and making their debut on the Memorial Hall stage in what I’m sure will be the first of many concerts to come!

Michael Butterfield
College Organist

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