Concert celebrates musical youth

The young performers at the last St George's URC Lunchtime Concert for the season.
The young performers at the last St George's URC Lunchtime Concert for the season.

St George’s URC Lunchtime concerts – A Celebration of Youth.

The final concert of the extended 2017 winter/spring series took place at St George’s United Reformed Church with an event celebrating youth in music.

Six young musicians of widely different ages and experience took part in a most entertaining and varied concert.

The youngest, nine-year-old soprano Anna Ruxgon Fischer, opened the proceedings with two songs, My Father’s Garden, and Schubert’s Cradle song.

Anna charmed the large audience with her lovely sweet and gentle voice. Both songs were well controlled and beautifully presented and the neat phrasing was particularly impressive. Anna recently appeared in the Wansbeck Music festival and is a pupil at Newcastle Preparatory School.

Violinist, 15-year-old Matthew Blake, played two solos. The first, Cantabile by Paganini, gave Matthew the opportunity to show off his vibrant rich tone, with the legato movements smooth and well handled.

Hubay’s Bolero, an energetic dance was a total contrast, with fast and flowing movement, which required good control and distinct notation, both most evident in Matthew’s performance.

He hails from Whitley Bay and won the under-18 string class in the recent Wansbeck Music Festival.

Matthew was joined by another 15-year-old violinist Elin Devine-Douglas in three short duets by Shostakovitch.

These are quiet, tuneful and quirky pieces.

Matthew and Elin blended well together in these attractive duets and proved a most successful combination playing in perfect harmony.

Elin, another prize-winner in the Wansbeck Music Festival, lives in Morpeth and attends the Sacred Heart High School in Newcastle.

A second year university student and former pupil at King Edward VI School, soprano Alison Russo sang two highly contrasting pieces.

The first, the sombre Verborgenheit by Wolf, gave Alison the opportunity to show off her rich and maturing soprano voice, while the popular Alleluia from Exultate Jubilate by Mozart, with its fast moving and challenging running passages, was extremely well handled and controlled. Her performance was confident and assured.

Daniel McCarty played three clarinet Intermezzi by Stanford, the three contrasting movements were a good test of the soloist’s ability, but Daniel was equally at home with the slow legato sections and the tricky moving passages.

The most experienced of the young performers, pianist Victoria Robinson, played two French compositions.

The first, Jardins Sous La Pluie by Debussy, depicted a violent rainstorm and its wide-ranging and furious fast moving passages, full of beautiful chords, contributed to a most atmospheric effect.

Victoria played with great distinction and skill. The second piece, Etude En Forme D’une Valse by Saint Saens, was a real test in technical prowess.

This was a difficult and most challenging work, but Victoria played with verve, vigour and total confidence. Her performance was a musical delight of the highest class.

Elin returned to play the final two pieces. She began with Canzonetta by D’Ambrosio, a delightful little composition, and brought the concert to a close with an 18th century piece by Tartini in two short movements.

A slow and gentle andante led into the sprightly presto, which provided a fitting finale to a most enjoyable concert.

The new autumn series of concerts begins on Wednesday, September 13, with a piano recital by David Murray.

Review by BCP