The final Friday night concert of the term presented an opportunity for Lower School musicians to show the fruits of their labours, through a diverse programme of solo and ensemble pieces. The concert commenced with Lower School Percussion Ensemble’s Who let the dogs out?, which was energetically and imaginatively arranged and directed by Miss Slominska. The level of total participation and timbral variety made for an enjoyable experience for all of the players.
The concert boasted several excellent solo performances, including Ottó’s rendition of Scarlatti’s Le violette and Eloise singing two songs The Fly and Clock-a-Clay from Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Insect World. Both singers here showed a wonderful connection with their audience and projected their words well. Simi and Halldis' duet Evening Prayer from Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel was a stand-out performance of the evening.
Lower School’s instrumentalists delivered a nice balance of upbeat and more ponderous pieces, with exquisite playing of Bach’s Siciliana from Ibti, a strident and stylistic piece from Danté on the 'cello, and some beautifully expressive control from Beatrice playing some Handel on the oboe. The evening’s piano pieces showcased both new and more experienced performers, with confident, impressive playing from Sophia playing Pauline Hall’s Gypsy Tango, Faith playing Walter Carroll’s The Reed and Patrick showing a tenderness in his playing of Chopin’s Sostenuto in E flat.
The smaller of the instrumental ensembles, Lower School Woodwind Trio and Lower School Brass Ensemble did themselves and their conductors proud, showing both a commendable level of focus and sensitivity to the balance of the ensemble. Mrs Ford’s Lower School Guitar Ensemble showed a diligent level of togetherness in their items, with all players playing out confidently. Lower School Strings played a charming set from Bartók’s Ten Pieces for Children. These short pieces challenged some of the more advanced players to lead the sound, whilst also offering accessibility so that their newest members could be fully involved.
Cantamus choir, in greater number than last year, presented two songs from musicals, firstly Little People from Les Misérables and Reflection from Mulan. Cantamus showed a convincing and beautiful sound in their singing. No doubt, they will seek to build on an encouraging first performance of the school year. The concert ended with a set of three piece from Lower School Choir. For the fallen is a well-loved remembrance anthem that features a captivating Elgarian melody, some vocal division and the inclusion of The Last Post, played on this occasion by Finn on the trumpet. It was evident just how much the choir enjoyed singing this piece from the power and sense of drama they conveyed. The final two items of the concert were pieces by Bob Chilcott. Can you hear me? was written as an anthem that seeks to increase awareness of those with hearing impairment. The piece’s chorus included some signing which a group from the choir performed. Overall, the choir performed the piece with great sensitivity. Dancing in memory’s stream was an uplifting finale to the evening’s programme, with wistful text portraying powerful imagery of childhood memories, with moments requiring lots of breath control and confident harmony which the choir executed brilliantly.