17 May 2017 

It is always encouraging, just as we prepare to say farewell to our senior musicians, to hear the musical talent coming through in the lower years. This year’s Junior Music Scholars’ and Soloists’ Concert contained some sparkling performances, including representatives from each orchestral section alongside some outstanding pianists.

Our woodwind offering included an expressive Boehm Solo Capriccio for flute (David Bicarregui), Cimarosa’s Oboe Concerto (Cameron Yu), Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe from the film, The Mission (Tom Graham) and a Mendelssohn Song Without Words (Ollie Northwood, a very promising first year clarinettist). Our bassoonist was second year, Luc Tucker, who is already making that instrument’s characteristic sonorous tone in Prokofiev’s exciting ballet music from Romeo and Juliet, The Montagues and Capulets.

The School’s brass department was represented by a most promising first year horn player, Daniel Barratt, in Saint-Saens’ Romance. In his solo debut, this was a confident performance, which saw him projecting the long soaring phrases in this music. We were pleased to hear the emerging talent of a third year quartet (Dashiell Hathaway, Andreas Lo, Timmy Chiu and Alfie Marshall) in Abel’s Minuet, which they played with aplomb.

We heard a wonderful cohort of young string players, offering a wide range of repertoire – first, Hugo Payton (cello), playing a very beautiful Elegy by Davis. Violinist, Dashiell Hathaway, played us a Corelli Praeludium with a great sense of style and Nicholas Raptakis, on viola, followed with an unaccompanied Allemande from the First Cello Suite by J S Bach. Ashwin Tennant stepped up to play Smetana’s Aus der Heimat No 1 for violin, producing a lovely cantabile sound, whilst Tom Hart played us Gershwin’s Prelude No 2 with understanding of the bluesy style required. Andreas Lo performed Bohm’s exciting Introduction and Polonaise with great verve.

Our excellent pianists included Nicholas Raptakis in CPE Bach’s Solfeggietto, Alvin Tam in a Chopin Mazurka, and Joe Bradley in the same composer’s Minute Waltz. We heard some new repertoire, a Chinese piece, Liang Zhu, by Zhan Hoo He, played by the talented Harry Pan. After the break, James Mage played Debussy’s The Snow is Dancing whilst Jason Ng played Faure’s moving Apres un Reve with suitable feeling and musicality. It was great to hear Stefano Rajasundaram in a short character piece by Rakov, Der Tag ist Vergagen. Will Bywater played us Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude and Tiger Wang concluded with Gershwin’s Prelude, I Got Rhythm.

This was a lovely concert of beautiful music making that augurs extremely well for the future of our music at Abingdon. Our thanks must go to all these talented boys and their dedicated teachers and accompanists.

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