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21st June 2024

Music at Lunchtime: Expressive Vocal Recital

This week’s Music at Lunchtime recital was given by Form 6 Music Scholar Evie who performed music by Bach, Schubert & Mozart and mélodies by Chausson & Poulenc, accompanied by Anne Bolt on the piano.

The diverse program included pieces in German, French, and Italian, reflecting the Evie’s linguistic interests and broad musical range.

Beginning with two German works, opening with Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Blute nur, du liebes Herz!’ from the St Matthew Passion. This poignant aria, which translates to ‘Bleed out, you loving heart!’, is sung following Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. Evie skilfully conveyed the deep sorrow and sense of damnation encapsulated in the music, setting a powerful tone for the concert.

Next, the audience was treated to Franz Schubert’s ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’. This piece, composed when Schubert was just 17, is based on Goethe’s tragic play Faust. Gretchen is portrayed at her spinning wheel, tormented by memories of Faust’s betrayal. The relentless semiquavers in the piano part mimicked the spinning wheel, while Evie captured Gretchen’s emotional turmoil and eventual numbness with impressive nuance.

Francis Poulenc’s ‘C.’ was the first French piece, setting a poem by Louis Aragon. The song’s reflective yet desolate atmosphere depicted post-war devastation, interspersed with moments of peace conveyed through a dance-like melody. Evie’s ability to transition between these contrasting emotions was particularly moving.

Ernest Chausson’s ‘Le Colibri’ followed, a love song where the speaker’s beloved is likened to a hummingbird. The piece’s irregular 5/4 time signature created a sense of freedom and breadth, mirroring the joyful emotions of C. M. R. Leconte de Lisle’s poem. Evie’s fluid interpretation highlighted the piece’s lyrical beauty and whimsical charm.

The concert concluded with an Italian aria from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Evie took on the role of Zerlina, a flirtatious young bride who attempts to soothe her jealous husband, Masetto, in ‘Batti, batti, o bel Masetto!’. The aria, which translates to ‘Beat, O beat me handsome Masetto!’, showcased Evie’s playful side and her ability to embody different characters. Her exploration of the translations and essence of each piece brought depth and authenticity to her performance.

Well done to Evie and to Ms Bolt for an outstanding recital.

The recording from this week’s concert is available online here.

Next week’s Music at Lunchtime concert will be given by Form 7 pupils Ethan and Sofia, who will share their last Lunchtime Recital together.

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