Spectacular Concert in St James’s Church

Spectacular Concert in St James’s Church

Once again, the beautiful church, St. James’s Piccadilly, played host to our annual showcase concert featuring choirs, instrumental ensembles, chamber groups and soloists. The varied programme included demanding musical works that were performed with style, precision and authenticity. Parents, friends, Trustees and members of the public commented on the impressiveness of this ‘musical feast’ and aside from the musical prowess displayed, it was the confidence and professionalism of every performer that was remarkable. This was seen in our youngest pupils, from our Prep School Year 5, to our Upper Sixth and huge thanks and congratulations must go to all involved.

Opening the concert, Chamber Choir sang, with brilliance, Gjeilo’s Ubi Caritas, a challenging and striking piece that begins with plainchant and expands into complex chromatic and dissonant harmonies. This was followed by their sublime accompaniment to Aldi Ho’s stunning solo, the Kyrie from Mozart’s Great C Minor Mass. Joining the ensemble were Visiting Music Teachers and music scholars. The Eric Thiman Singers (ETS) then performed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater Dolorosa, a profound and moving work that demonstrated their crafted sound to perfection. The massed choral work this year was Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem that was accompanied by our Senior String Ensemble. This piece, first produced in 2008, is a moving and meaningful work with settings of known poems such as In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. Audience members and performers were entranced and captivated by Goodall’s beautiful settings.

Our soloist section of the concert featured Annie, Charlotte, Emma and Toby. Annie’s performance of the 1st movement, Appassionata, from Sonata No 23 by Beethoven left the audience in awe. Charlotte’s performance of Poulenc’s Allegretto malincolico from Sonata for Flute and Piano was outstanding and displayed the full technical potential of the Flute. Emma’s cello solo, Jewish Song by Bloch, also explored complex technical aspects and was performed with excellence. Toby’s rendition of Faure’s Le Secret was a special moment- his performance showed such maturity and understanding.

Two of our chamber ensembles were represented; the Trio (flute, clarinet and piano) and our senior String Quartet. The Trio performed an arrangement of Debussy’s Dolly Suite with great passion and style. The String Quartet performed an arrangement of excerpts from Stravinsky’s Petrushka with energy and flair.

The final section of the concert featured larger ensembles who provided a spectacular contrasting finale to the subtle choral works. The Senior Brass Ensemble performed Mussorgsky’s Great Gates of Kiev with grandeur and majesty, joined by the percussion section and organ. The Concert Band, with similar style, performed Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bald Mountain leaving the audience truly ‘wowed’. The concert ended with Sinfonia’s performance of Beethoven’s Overture from Leonore, a powerful and action-filled work full of drama. This provided a rousing finale to the concert and left the audience on the edges of their seats.

Congratulations and high praise must be awarded to every singer and musician who took part in this triumphant concert. The event was most certainly another musical highlight of the calendar and will again leave lasting memories for all involved.

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