Youth on song at series’ concert


YOUTH was the focus in the second autumn series lunchtime concert at St George’s United Reformed Church.

Five talented performers, aged 11 to 18, delighted the audience.

The youngest, Ben Forster on piano, showed polish and maturity beyond his years. He had the highest marks in piano classes at the Wansbeck Music Festival, which was evident in his confident opening piece by Schumann. Clear, concise chordwork and well-executed moving passages illustrated his skill. Le Petit Negre by Debussy had excellent rhythm and timing. A rondo by Clementi, with precise chords, completed a competent, enjoyable performance.

Ben’s brother, violinist Matthew, played Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto No 6 in A Minor. This is a challenge, but Matthew rose to it in style. It was an impressive showing for one so young. The legato playing in the adagio was balanced and the overall effect and sound were very good. Confident playing, with clarity and precision, completed an impressive playing. It was obvious that Matthew already has Grade 8 on violin.

Baritone Jonathan Roxburgh, who is on a music degree course at Gateshead Sage, opened with The Vagabond by Vaughan Williams and Is My Team Ploughing by Butterworth. He sang with gusto and remarkable tonal quality. His light, shade and excellent control were most convincing, as was his style. Having played the part of Jean Valjean in the KEVI production of Les Miserables, he sang Bring Him Home and Empty Chairs and Empty Tables. Both showed skill and Jonathan’s extensive range.

Ruth Gillies, a flautist who recently completed Grade 8 exams, performed Debussy’s Prelude from Suite Bergamasque. Her playing was controlled and confident, with fluent notation and excellent tone. It was compelling and convincing. Bach’s Sonata in E Major and John Rutter’s Waltz from Suite Antique completed her programme. She was at home in both, illustrating great clarity and exceptional upper register, as well as mastering the contrasting styles.

Soprano Rebecca Megwa is already an established soloist. She is in her final year at KEVI and is a student with The Samling. Her first song, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, was enchanting – a delightful rendering, with notation clear as crystal and a superb upper register. A song cycle by Mahler provided a challenge; Rebecca made it sound easy. Danny Boy provided a gentle, beautiful performance and The Lord Is My Shepherd by Howard Goodall proved a flowing, majestic finale with excellent tone, clear notation and diction. No praise is too high for this exceptional talent, this girl will go far.

No praise is too high indeed for the accompanying of Ken Irvine.

A large audience showed their appreciation with loud, sustained applause.