Young musicians keep audience enthralled

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THE third of the Winter/Spring series of lunchtime concerts held last Wednesday at St George’s URC featured students from King Edward VI School, with music staff Heather Harrison and Robin Forbes.

In front of a very good audience, the concert opened with a hymn from a set of Vespers by Montiverdi, performed by the school’s Chamber Choir, which consists of about 20 students.

This was an enthralling start to the concert, the choir producing a rich tonal quality and superb balance, with the basses being particularly outstanding and providing a solid foundation. Soloists Amy Wilkinson and Richard Pinkstone added further high class support to a riveting performance by a most accomplished choir, conducted by Heather Harrison. The spinet, played by Jonathan Foster, lute, by Lindsay Gilfillan, and other strings added to the authenticity of this performance of this beautiful piece.

There followed four soloists. The first, violinist Rachael Steel, played Meditation by Massenet and a traditional Hungarian air, Invitation to the Dance. The pieces provided a complete contrast, with the gorgeous slow-moving melody of the former requiring good control and concise bow work, to the thrilling fast-moving, gypsy dance-like melody of the latter, requiring deft finger movements and crisp notation. Rachael proved more than equal to her task and her performance was first rate, with excellent tonal quality.

Soprano Rebecca Megwa sang Silver by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, A Blackbird Singing by Michael Head and Stormy Weather by Harold Arlen. Rebecca’s performance was quite outstanding. Her voice is most mature and for a girl of 16, quite sensational. She produced a rich, mellow tone and was at home with both lower and upper register. The sustained high notes in A Blackbird Singing will linger long in the memory for their sublime beauty of sound. Her rendering of Stormy Weather was also ‘out of the top drawer’.

Beverley Logan, on flute, followed with the first movement of the Flute Sonata by Hindemith. This is a challenging work of discordant and fragmented passages, with clever interplay between flute and piano. Beverley made light work of the challenge in a confident and convincing performance with effective control and very good tonal quality. Her second solo, Cantilena, the second movement of the Flute Sonata by Poulenc, was equally convincing.

High class pianists provided the accompaniments. Rachael was assisted by Head of Music Robin Forbes, while Rebecca and Beverley were accompanied by Ken Irvine.

The final soloist was Jonny Cordon on the electric guitar. He played Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton and one of his own compositions, The Long Road Home. In both pieces Jonny played with great confidence and showed great skill. His singing in the first piece was tuneful and easy on the ear.

The audience was enthralled throughout and long applause followed.

The final concert of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 20, with Rachel Chesny (clarinet) and Akiko Tominaga (piano), both students from the Royal College of Music.