16 March 2017
The second ever intermediate instrumental competition showcased the talents of 16 of the school’s musicians, the criteria for entry being grades 6 to 8, but excluding those who had actually taken their grade 8 examination. After the stellar heights of the senior competition last term, the intermediates did not disappoint, with a phenomenally good standard throughout, which impressed our adjudicator, Mr Robert Secret, even before he had heard a note of music!
The performers represented four year groups of the school from 3rd Year to Lower Sixth and featured four families of instruments, woodwind, brass, strings and piano, with music performed from the 18th to 20th centuries.
The wind players got the competition off to a splendid start with Raffy Armon-Jones’ accomplished flute playing in Gounod’s Concertino. Third year music scholar, Hugo Wade, delighted us with Franz Strauss’ elegiac Nocturne for French Horn and Reuben Havelock made that wonderfully outdoors sound that only the French horn can make, with the Rondo from Mozart’s 2nd Concerto. In the second half, Will Senior chose the finale of Hanson’s Trumpet Sonata, which he played with great aplomb.
Our courageous pianists chose some demanding repertoire; a Bach Sinfonia (Ben Shaw), Mozart’s C minor Fantasy (David Bicarregui), Brahms’ G minor Rhapsody (Tiger Wang), Rachmaninov’s G minor Prelude (Harry Pan), Chopin’s B minor Waltz (Andreas Lo), a Gliere Prelude (Nicholas Raptakis) and Faure’s Andante quasi allegretto (Andy Zhang). They acquitted themselves extremely well.
We heard some typically strong performances from our string department, starting with young Joe Bradley in Debussy’s rather romantically nostalgic Scherzo for cello. Our violinists included Alex Lawrence (Elgar’s intimate Idylle Op 4, No 1), Alexander Glover (Janacek’s thoughtful Balada), Fergal Marsh (Bohm’s haunting Introduction and extrovert Polonaise), and, finally Andrew Kang (Dvorak’s Romance No 2).
Difficult though it is to separate such fine performances, that was precisely the unenviable task that we had set our adjudicator, Robert Secret. After some very thoughtful and positive comments he was able to place the three performances that he felt were the most successful this evening. 1st place and the winner's cup went to pianist Andy Zhang for his lovely playing of Faure, second place to violinist, Alex Glover, and third to pianist, Andreas Lo. This was a competition of high quality and all the competitors deserve the warmest of congratulation. We look forward to hearing what the Junior Competition will bring next term.