The first concert of the St. Olave’s Music Department’s 2018-19 season – the Autumn Mid-Term Concert – took place on Thursday 8 November in the Chapel. Performing as a chamber ensemble, with its director Mr Blew amid the orchestra, the Intermediate Strings started proceedings with a Handel favourite. The first half of the programme continued with a selection of impressive solos, too many to mention all of them individually. Some particular highlights however included Arunabh’s heart-felt rendition of Fauré’s beautiful chanson ‘Après un rêve’ and two accomplished performances of piano sonatas, Ben taking on the technical challenge of Scarlatti’s music and Antonio tackling Beethoven’s similarly virtuosic work.
During the interval, where refreshments were kindly served by our fantastic Parents’ Association, Gregoire enticed us all with his sale of his home-baked treats, raising money for Operation Wallacea. Returning afterwards, the audience were welcomed back to what was one of the Improvisation Ensemble’s best ever performances, skilfully facilitated by Mr Bullard. Three keyboard players, three saxophonists, a pianist and a drummer took The Preacher by Silver and each instrumentalist added their own inventive improvised take on this classic. Srikar, performing from memory, held the atmosphere beautifully in his Einaudi piano solo. James brought out the quirky character of Stravinsky’s music through the medium of the clarinet. Lulu’s excellent diction and vocal projection helped her convey Eliza’s sense of joy in ‘I could have danced all night’ from My Fair Lady. Lesser-known composer Merikanto’s ‘Valse Lente’ was brought to life by Jamie’s wide range of dynamic contrast and well-judged use of rubato. Year 7 student Alfie stunned the audience with his dexterity and mature improvisation in Berlin’s ‘Cheek to Cheek’. Both Genesis and Kenji then gave skilful piano solos of demanding repertoire and Charlotte closed the evening’s entertainment with her expressive and lyrical flute playing.
Having had the privilege of hearing around twenty performances in each of about thirty mid-term concerts since joining, I can honestly say that this concert contained some items of the very highest quality ever offered by our students. Thanks go to our ensemble coaches and St. Olave’s colleagues who in any way have made this event such a success, with my heartiest congratulations to all performers.