The first Music in the Chapel concert of the Summer Term took place on the evening of Friday 6 May, celebrating both ensemble playing and soloists alike in a celebratory concert close to the start of the term.
The Wind Band, under Miss Wardell’s supportive direction, opened the concert with style and musical security, ably demonstrating the ensemble’s development this academic year. In both Philip Sparke’s Infinity and Beyond and Neil Diamond’s popular Sweet Caroline, this young ensemble played with rhythmic verve and very good ensemble. A sequence of senior solo performances followed, offering either a preview or a reminder of recitals in our Wednesday lunchtime series. Zsolti Johnson demonstrated her excellent diction and strong musical intent in two songs from Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, before Paul Florescu gave a commanding performance on the piano of Rachmaninov’s famous Prelude in G minor. Archie Foster conjured up exquisite and lyrical sounds from his trombone in two of the Four Sketches by Tony Cliff, with soprano Eliza Cohen Gregory concluding this section of the concert with an excellent reprise of a Tchaikovsky song, performed in Russian. The first half of the concert concluded with the Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Mr Williams, who demonstrated their command of Dvořák’s lyrical string writing in the first movement of his Serenade for Strings.
The Concert Band took over the concert platform after the internal, impressing the audience with an extended sequence of varied repertoire under Mr Foster’s committed direction. Their opening two pieces – Erickson’s Toccata for Band and Vaughan Williams’ Folk Song Suite – received strong performances demonstrating the band’s sonorous tone in core repertoire. A pair of lighter works – The Cream of Clapton and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – gave the musicians the chance to relax in a stylish sequence of popular song arrangements. Dan Price’s Andromeda offered a chance to showcase the band’s excellent percussionists in this highly entertaining contemporary work for band, before Mr Foster led the band back to more traditional repertoire, concluding with a spirited rendition of Sousa’s popular march, The Liberty Bell.
Congratulations to all the musicians who took part for entertaining us so brilliantly after just a couple of weeks of the Summer Term!