Any concert which features the music students of David and Jennifer Murray produces a high standard of performance.
And so it was at the largest midday concert held at St George’s United Reformed Church when seven young people at various stages in their musical development played to a sizeable audience.
The first soloist, pianist Nicole Lau, set the scene with a polished performance of Bach’s prelude and fugue in G Major. Her confident playing and technical skills made a difficult composition appear easy.
Natalie Fisher, on clarinet, continued with two intermezzos by Stanford, more commonly noted for his control and with great attention to detail, particularly in the first piece with its gentle lifting melody. In both intermezzos there was excellent rapport between the soloist and the piano accompaniment.
The most experienced of the young musicians, Victoria Robinson, followed with Beethoven’s Sonata in E flat for piano.
She has performed all over the world and in the UK, and this experience was reflected in a mature and accomplished playing of difficult and complex work. This was most impressive, with style, and a clear and distinct notation.
Victoria’s second piece, Debussy’s Pagodes, was a complete contrast where she played with a delicate and gentle touch, with the moving passages reminiscent of a rippling stream in summer. The magis of Debussy was brought to the fore in a delightful manner.
Nairi Weston, on clarinet, gave an excellent rendering of Sonata and E flat by Brahms. A beautiful melody was played with elegance and grace in a confident and assured performance.
Nairi’s second solo, Poulenc’s Sonata for clarinet and piano, presented a sterner challenge, but she rose to the occasion to master a tricky and lively work. Her playing of the many moving passages was good, with clarinet and piano moving well together.
The youngest and least experienced musician, pianist James Barker, treated the audience to a delightful setting of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. This was a beautiful arrangement of a popular piece, which was played with a simple charm, with the underlying moving passages handled particularly well.
A confident and capable playing of Milkaud’s Duo Concertant for clarinet and piano was marked by impressive handling of the upper register passages by Daniel McCarthy. This was a challenge, but once more the playing was of a high standard.
On the piano David Murray provided top class professional support, as he did with all the other young clarinet players.
The final soloist was William Horseman, whose performance of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in B minor was skilful to the extreme. The rich chords and many thrilling, moving passages produced a truly masterful musical experience.
The concert was brought to a thrilling conclusion by William’s barnstorming playing of Rhapsody no 3 by Von Dohanyl. This is an exciting and spectacular work, not for the faint-hearted, and William rose to the occasion with a breathtaking performance, played with enthusiasm and great panache.
David and Jennifer can be justly proud of their most talented young musicians.
• The St George’s Lunchtime Concert organisers have secured two of English National Opera’s soloists, Graeme Danby (bass) and Valerie Reid (mezzo soprano) for their next concert on November 30. It starts at 12.30pm, doors open at noon. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served. £3 admission, with donations to Henry Dancer Days.