Youth takes centre stage at lunchtime musical treat

The Lunchtime Concert held at St George's URC on Wednesday, March 14, the local performers at that concert, who attend the Sage Weekend Music School in Gateshead, with their senior Tutor David Murray Head of Keyboard at both the Sage School and at Newcastle University
The Lunchtime Concert held at St George's URC on Wednesday, March 14, the local performers at that concert, who attend the Sage Weekend Music School in Gateshead, with their senior Tutor David Murray Head of Keyboard at both the Sage School and at Newcastle University

IT was youth to the fore for the second month running in the latest Lunchtime Concert at St George’s United Reformed Church.

Last month, it was students from King Edward VI School and this was the turn of music students from the Sage Weekend School, Gateshead, under the guidance of David Murray, Head of Keyboard Studies.

Five students gave a ‘top drawer’ musical performance, covering a wide range from the early 19th to early 20th centuries. They opened with Elegy by Czech composer Joseph Suk. Charlotte Kennedy (violin), Luch Hoile (cello) and Taylor Thompson (piano) provided an excellent opening with confident and accomplished playing of a very tricky composition, which required great attention to detail.

They blended well in a beautifully interwoven melody, with each instrument in turn taking over the main theme, during which the three displayed good tonal quality and effective control.

Cellist Andrew Snell followed with the first movement of Saint Saens’ Cello Concert. Andrew illustrated a maturity well beyond his years in a wonderful rendering of a most difficult and challenging piece, requiring great virtuosity.

The interplay between cello and piano was brilliant.

Charlotte continued with the first movement of the first of Brahms’ three sonatas for violin and piano. The faster passages were precise and accurate and the lyrical melody flowed in a most pleasant and tuneful manner. This young lady is developing into a competent soloist and has come a long way since her first appearance at a Lunchtime Concert two years ago.

Next was pianist Taylor Thompson, who played The Hills of Anacapri from Debussy’s first Book of Preludes. Taylor displayed a great feeling for the music, which was performed in a controlled and accurate way. It was a sensitive rendering, with excellent light and shade.

The final soloist was 13-year-old violinist Gi Dong Park. He played two works, the first a mazurka by Sibelius. It was obvious from the first few notes that he possesses great talent. The light and tuneful dance was wonderfully controlled, with its many technical difficulties handled most efficiently. It was elegant and beautiful playing.

His second solo was the famous Massenet piece from his opera Thais. It was played with feeling and sensitivity, with the flowing melody superbly controlled, but the highlight was the tonal quality, rich and vibrant and a delight to the ear.

Lucy returned to play the final movement of Lalo’s Cello Concerto. This again was an accomplished performance, with confident and competent playing and well-controlled running passages. Tonal quality was of the highest order and there was effective co-ordination between cello and piano.

The concert ended with Schubert’s Piano Trio. Gi Dong, Andrew and David combined in a delightful performance. There was elegant legato playing of a melody interwoven between the soloists, with all three taking their turn to play the main theme, a fitting finale to a concert of the highest quality.

David, who accompanied throughout in a professional performance, can be justly proud of his young musicians, all of whom appear to have a successful future in the world of music. A large audience, who showed their appreciation in long applause, would certainly agree.

The final concert of the series on Wednesday, April 4, features Julia Watson (cello), Alex Banfield (tenor) and the Longhirst Gardens Festival Singers, accompanied by Ken Irvine (piano).

BCP