9 October 2023
Mrs Maria Young, Teacher of Music
Our Music Scholars’ Concert on Monday 2 October was a huge treat. Each student introduced her piece, giving the audience an insight into the music to help us enjoy it even more.
Opening the evening, Sophie D, Upper Sixth, gave a very fluent account of Ravel’s Sonatine, a demanding work, playing with subtle light and shade. She drew real delicacy of tone and colour from the piano. Bea, Year 10, played Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, arranged for violin, with thoughtful phrasing and a melancholy lyricism that brought the mood of grief and yearning to the fore. Clara, Lower Sixth, charmed us on her flute with Daudet’s Arabesque, artfully leading us through the sinuous Arabic motifs and showing off the extremes of her range with great aplomb. Fiona, Year 11, was next, dazzling us with her agile playing and thrilling us with witty and precise articulation in her charming account of Dard’s Bassoon Sonata in D. Valia, Year 11, then plunged us into the vivid folk scales and rhythms of Bartok’s Folk Dance arrangements. This was characterised by really spirited playing, full of life and colour. Sophia, Year 10, played the second movement of Finzi’s 1st Bagatelle for Clarinet with dreamy, reflective elegance and very good musical control of the composer’s long, lyrical phrases. Keira, Lower Sixth, closed the first half of the evening with a compelling performance of Loose Ends from ‘The Witches of Eastwick’. She communicated John Williams’ musical intentions with deep conviction – and a beautiful voice – drawing her audience right into the emotions of the song: at ‘You were loved’ one could absolutely sense the intensity and power of the moment.
After a short interval, Lilico, Year 11, opened the second half with the Adagio from Bach’s Sonata in G for violin. This unaccompanied performance was reflective, spiritual and highly accomplished, beautifully balancing the soaring solo melody with the shifting textures of the more contrapuntal moments. Kiara, Year 10, introduced us to the piano writing of Kuhlau, giving an excellent, charming account of the changing moods and character of his Sonatina in C. Her left-hand passage-work was particularly impressive. We were then treated to more clarinet playing, this time from Imani, Year 11, who delivered a spirited and committed performance of the first movement from Weber’s demanding Concerto, full of variety of tone and mood as she explored the full range of the instrument. Rose, Year 10, played Saint-Saëns’ well-known Allegro appassionato for cello with real conviction. Saint-Saëns always wrote with such understanding of every instrument’s individual capabilities, and Rose made the most of his insights, bringing out his lyrical melodies with a lovely warm tone. Sephora, Lower Sixth, was our last vocalist of the evening, presenting Two Songs by Samuel Barber. She sang with utter conviction, exploring shifting moods in detail and making the most demanding, lengthy phrases sound straightforward. Her performance was delivered with consummate musicianship. The final performance of the evening was by Cherry and Isabel, Upper Sixth, who romped through an arrangement of Holst’s Jupiter, from ‘The Planets’ suite. At times full of dazzling bravura and fire, at other moments full of pomp or complex, energetic rhythmic interest, this was a performance to enjoy on all levels, and a real tour de force of the musicianship of these two senior multi-instrumentalists, who have brought so much to the Music Department in their time at Woldingham.
Our music scholars truly are the soul of the Music Department, playing and singing at the heart of all our musical activities. We are so proud of them all. This was, as Ms Ives observed, a wonderful moment for them to shine as soloists, and for the very enthusiastic audience to enjoy the fruits of their hard work in recent months. A huge thank you to all involved.