Talented students offer vital concert ingredients

BRING together talented soloists, an excellent choir and a large audience and you have the essential ingredients for a successful concert.

And so it was last Wednesday at St George’s United Reformed Church when Robin Forbes and Heather Harrison brought music students from King Edward VI School to perform at the second lunchtime concert of the Winter/Spring series.

Vocalist Laura Brown gave a lovely opening when she sang three widely differing songs. Se Tu M’ami by Parisotti gave her the opportunity to show off good tone, which was clear and distinct. The running passages were controlled and well executed.

She followed with Quilter’s lovely Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal. The wonderful melody was sweet and suitably sentimental, a nice sound.

Her final song, Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls by Loesser is a difficult song requiring light and shade, but Laura was up to the occasion and gave a very mature rendering.

Pianist Ben Peters followed with Petites Litanies de Jesus by Grovlez. Ben played in a most delicate and sensitive manner, giving particular attention to the gorgeous chords.

Handel’s Allegro from his Suite in G was a fitting contrast. Ben displayed a good style, with confident, accurate playing, with the testing passages clear and well controlled.

Abbie Winter, the flautist, was making her second appearance and she played Sonato for Flute and Piano by Poulenc. She played in a confident, competent style, with excellent tone and clear, distinct notation. This was a most competent performance of a demanding and challenging work.

Vocalist Dean Clark performed three solos. Flow My Tears by Dowland was originally composed for the lute. Dean has a strong voice with good tonal quality and he gave a beautiful rendering.

Money O! by Michael Head is challenging, but Dean kept it well together and gave a very sensitive performance.

He ended with Empty Chairs and Empty Tables from Les Miserables. He rose to the occasion in fine style, showing his wide range of note and total empathy with the words and music. His use of light and shade was particularly impressive.

Resident accompanist Ken Irvine provided the support and played in his usual professional way.

Mac Fielding, on classical guitar, performed Venezuelan Waltz by Lauro and Preludes No 2 and No 1 by Villa-Lobos. The classical guitar is notoriously difficult to play, but Mac showed a cool maturity. In the waltz the delicate moving chords demanded close attention to detail, but every note was clearly audible.

The Preludes gave Mac the opportunity to illustrate his versatility with lots of fast moving passages, and all were well controlled and distinct.

The school Chamber Choir, conducted by Mrs Harrison, performed contrasting compositions. Cantate Domino by Monteverdi requires strict attention to tempo, but the choir performed in a disciplined, organised way. All four parts could be heard and were perfectly balanced, but what is most impressive is the fantastic tone which the choir possesses with its clarity of sound.

One Day More from Les Miserables was its second choice. It was sung with confidence and brilliance, with the interplay between the choir and soloists particularly well managed. All eight soloists sang in a confident, musical way and there were no weak links.

This is an excellent choir and both Mrs Harrison and Mr Forbes, who accompanied on piano, are to be congratulated for nurturing the musical talent of the area.

The large audience showed their appreciation of a fine concert with loud, sustained applause.

The concert on Wednesday, March 13 features Jennifer Murray and some of her woodwind students from the Sage Gateshead Weekend School.