YOUTH was to the fore in the latest midday concert at St George’s United Reformed Church.
There were four young soloists from King Edward VI School, Jonathan Roxburgh (tenor), Peter Fielding (classical guitar), Chloe Dodd (soprano) and Hannah Slater-Patterson (violin), along with the school’s Chamber Choir.
The programme consisted of a wide variety of mainly 20th Century music, including excerpts from popular stage shows.
Jonathan opened with three songs, Johanna from Sweeney Todd by Steven Sondheim, Fair House of Joy by Roger Quilter and Empty Chairs and Empty Tables from Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schonberg. All three posed a formidable challenge, but he approached his task with confidence and skill.
He illustrated good tone and control, particularly in the Elizabethan song, while he coped admirably with the difficult Schonberg. He reflected the nostalgic nature of the song in a most capable and convincing manner.
Peter was next. The classical guitar is fiendishly difficult to play, but he showed maturity and skill in the playing of Bagatelle No. 2 by Sir William Walton, Danza Charzcteristica by Leo Brouwer and Torija from Castillos de Espana by Moreno Torrobo.
The fast-moving Danza was particularly impressive with excellent clarity of note, while the description of Torija’s castle illustrated typical Spanish guitar sound with lovely, sweet and gentle undertones.
The Chamber Choir, trained and conducted by Heather Harrison followed with Goodnight Sweetheart and You Raised Me Up, both arranged and accompanied by the school’s Head of Music Robin Forbes, and Topcat arranged by Mrs Harrison.
The choir’s contribution was outstanding, a most musical performance with excellent balance and a superb tonal quality. The choir is well trained, but it is obvious that members are gifted in singing and they perform with great sensitivity. You Raise Me Up was particularly impressive, with perfect balance and a most beautiful sound. Altogether, a musical treat from one of the best school choirs I have had the pleasure to hear. They showed a maturity well beyond their years.
Chloe was next to perform with Roxie from Chicago by Kander, Cry Me A River by Arthur Hamilton and Show Me from My Fair Lady by Loewe. Her singing was delightful with a lovely sweet tone and very easy on the ear. She sang with great control and her performance of Cry Me A River was most impressive.
Hannah rounded off with two compositions. The first was Fruhlingswalzer by Shostakovitch, a sprightly dance requiring very secure bow work, but Hannah rose to a very testing technical challenge.
The second was A Sentimental Romance by Stenhammer. This has a beautiful flowing melody requiring skill and control. It also tests the violin’s upper and lower registers to the extreme. Hannah gave a very confident rendering. The concert ended with her playing three short traditional folk melodies. They were played in a confident and convincing manner.
The standard of performance throughout was very high and much credit must go to Robin Forbes and Heather Harrison. We are fortunate to have such a wealth of musical talent on our doorstep.
The accent on youth continues in the next concert on Wednesday, March 14, when young musicians from The Sage Gateshead provide the entertainment.