23 February 2017

The Annual Chamber Evening 2017 presented an impressive cross-section of chamber music from a number of different ensembles – woodwind, brass, strings and piano, and from musicians in all seven year groups of the school. We started with a couple of Frank Bridge miniatures, played by a fourth year trio of Alex Lawrence (violin), Nathan Hudson (cello) and David Bicarregui (piano). Alex led with poise and confidence.

A piano duet of Didier Delgorge and Andy Zhang played a Beethoven sonata in G with suitable gusto, plenty of dynamic contrast and a very good sense of ensemble. Next, Oliver Breach and Andrew Kang played the first movement of Bach’s double violin concerto in D minor with considerable musical feeling.

Our senior wind quintet – William Lam, Cameron Yu, Alex Glover, Reuben Havelock and Tom Preston – proved that they are coming of age with a mature work by August Klughardt a late 19th Century German composer, who was a composer, a court musician at Dessau and a conductor of Wagner’s operas.

The rest of the evening comprised quartets and quintets of different varieties, first a 3rd year string quartet of Andreas Lo, Timmy Chiu, Dashiell Hathaway and Thomas Rolfe in a minuet by Wesley. This was soon followed by one of the stand-out performances of the evening, a Mozart quintet slow movement played by an accomplished 4th year ensemble of Alvin Tam, Tom Hart, Alex Glover, Fergal Marsh and Joe Bradley. Here there was a lovely sense of ensemble and fine intonation throughout.

A quartet of trumpets next took to the stage, playing a spiritual by Alan Gout, This Train, with great panache, some lovely confident entries and good tuning. This will work nicely as a GCSE ensemble to submit this term. A quartet of cellos, Joe Bradley, Nathan Hudson, Hugo Payton and 1st year, Oliver Glover, then performed a most effective Ian Graham-Jones arrangement of Three Sea Songs, full of striking rhythms and lovely effects, including slides and pizzicato.

The 3rd year quartet of Ashwin Tennant, Elvis Hung, Nicolas Raptakis and Hugo Payton were in tremendously good form in a rondo by Pleyel, and showed forcefully why they were so deserving of winning a semi-final place in the Pro Corda national competition. Well done, and good luck to them.

We concluded with the debut performance of the new 5th year Jazz Quintet – Chanka Pathinayake (sax), Charlie Hall (trumpet), Ben Adams (bass), Jude Stanley (piano) and Graham Suttie (drums) – in Fuller’s Five Sport, After Dark. This ensemble has a very bright future and we hope to hear more from them in the future, as we do from all our gifted chamber musicians.

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