THE March lunchtime concert at St George’s United Reformed Church in Morpeth featured a return visit of the young and very talented students of David and Jennifer Murray.
David is one of the North East’s most acclaimed pianists and accompanists, having given recitals all over the world. He is also Head of Keyboard Studies at Newcastle University.
Jennifer studied clarinet at the Royal College of Music before working with orchestras and ensembles throughout the country, including the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the Royal Ballet Orchestra. She is also Head of Woodwind Studies at Newcastle University.
An extremely high standard of performance is always anticipated from their students and the capacity audience at St George’s was in no way disappointed.
At 13, Amy Clark was the youngest of the performers. She is a member of the National Children’s Orchestra.
She opened the concert with a Concertino for Clarinet and piano by Alan Ridout.From the well-defined, clarity of the First Movement, through the beautifully executed quiet high notes of the difficult Second Movement, Amy played with confidence and maturity.
This was followed by Joanna Ward, a pianist who performed Intermezzo in Eflat Major, Opus 117 No.1 by Brahms. Her pianistic skill was well demonstrated in the opening languid passage, which she played with great sensitivity and understanding, contrasting well with the flowing arpeggios that followed.
Daniel McCarty, 16, played the First Movement of the Clarinet Sonata by Saint Saens. His superb tone and control in the slow passages and his agility in the fast sections demonstrated his very sound expressive technique and quality of tone.
Edward Rowntree (piano) performed Waltz in F Major, Opus 43 No.2 by Chopin. The challenge of this technically difficult piece was met with skill and the fast flowing passages were executed with clean, dexterous fingerwork.
Michael Bentham (clarinet) played Peregi Verbunk by Leo Weiner. This slightly slower Hungarian Ddance allows the performer the opportunity for virtuosic embellishment and Michael rose to the challenge with a superb performance.
Amy Baker (piano), who is currently at Newcastle University, played a J. S. Bach Prelude and Fugue in Aflat Major originally written for harpsichord. This was a challenging choice, beautifully performed.
Andrew Broome performed a Concertino by Carl Maria von Weber. This demands a variety of playing from its dramatic opening, through the slower sections, to its fast moving passages.
It allows the performer to demonstrate a high degree of virtuosity and Andrew certainly achieved this.
The final performer was Lucy Walker, 15, who played both piano and clarinet and is completely at one with both of her chosen instruments.
The First Movement of the Arnold Bax Clarinet Sonata was exquisitely performed with its technical challenges met with confidence and great competence. Ballade No.3 in Aflat Major Opus 47 by Chopin demonstrated the varied pianistic ability of an extremely talented young lady.
All of the performers were well supported by David, whose accompanying is always of the highest order and whose anecdotal introductions added to the enjoyment of the concert.
The next lunchtime concert is taking place on Wednesday, April 16, from 12.30pm and will feature folk performers. This is a complete contrast to the rest of this series as it is a first venture into the folk genre.