The Autumn Concert got under way with a fiercely intense performance of Ravel’s Bolero. As the different soloists from the woodwind and brass sections played the beguiling theme, the Concert Band built an inexorable crescendo. Some of the best loved numbers from The Greatest Showman followed this and the breadth of tone and rhythmic precision were impressive. Form 1 Singers made their concert debut with two new songs: Shadow-maker by Cecilia McDowall, and Pleasant and Delightful, arranged by Paul Sartin. Their full tone and attention to musical detail was impressive.
Chamber Choir’s rendition of the flowing lines of Purcell’s Hear my prayer, O Lord was followed by Hymn to St Cecilia by Britten. Their high notes and exquisite harmonies were in contrast to the swing rhythms of the final piece, Sit down, you’re rocking the boat in which Form 7 soloist, Will, offered us a stylish and cheerful way to end the first half.
The Symphony Orchestra opened after the interval with Rossini’s overture, The Italian Girl in Algiers. This was full of surprise twists and turns and a mellifluous oboe solo. The bravura moments for the violins were ably led by Grace (Form 7) and the mounting excitement towards the end was the perfect preface for the Bellini Oboe Concerto. Emilia (Form 7) gave a beautifully phrased and scintillatingly virtuosic performance and she played with a clear view of the ‘Diva’ status of the solo part in this work. The concert concluded with some characterful solo and string section representations of the scenery and dancing of the Scottish Highlands in Matthew Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances.