8 November 2021
Mr John Hargreaves, Director of Music
On Friday 15 October we were delighted to welcome the Arva String Quartet to Woldingham for the first time in its role as our resident ensemble. The Arva Quartet comprises Gabriela and Eliette (violins), Mabon (viola), William (‘cello), all students at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The main focus of this first visit was to start a composing project for our GCSE and A Level music students. The quartet introduced their instruments, and the various techniques used, playing a section of the Ravel string quartet to demonstrate these. They also played some composition sketches by Music Ribbon Leila and a full string quartet arrangement by Sophia, Year 11. Both students conducted their pieces very well and took advice on possible changes and additions that they could make.
The quartet then played through some of the set works for GSCE and A Level, including Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050, 3rd movement, with Year 11 musicians Isabel and Cherry soloing on violin and flute respectively. With the A Level students, we looked at some film cues from Psycho, including the famous shower scene music, and all sang Eleanor Rigby with the original quartet accompaniment.
After the break we played and sang through Noye’s Fludde, Britten’s opera being performed at our Autumn Concert on Wednesday 24 November. Written for student singers and players, and a professional string quartet, it was a fantastic opportunity to play the whole piece through for the first time with our new quartet, along with pianos, timps, recorders, strings, and of course our solo singers.
Before departing the quartet performed Beethoven’s Quartet Opus 18, No. 3 at a lunchtime concert.
The Arva Quartet will visit Woldingham through the year to work with students, supporting them in composing and performing work. Music students in Year 10 and Lower Sixth are currently working on some ideas for the quartet to perform when they next visit in the spring term.