|21 Mar 2023|
|Written by Joe Roberts|
Huge congratulations to our musicians in the Symphony Orchestra, Chapel Choir and Form 3 Singers for performing an “absolutely amazing” Gala Concert on Sunday 19 March in Nottingham. In one of the most memorable Gala Concerts in recent years, the pupils maintained an exceptional standard of performance throughout the concert, which embraced two concertos, a short Shostakovich orchestral work, the complete Duruflé Requiem and an uplifting rendition for massed voices of ‘This is me’ from The Greatest Showman.
The concert shone the spotlight on four talented Upper School soloists. Findlay Marsh played with enormous flair and a wonderfully rich tone in a captivating performance of Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1, which was quite an achievement just three days after playing rugby for the 1st XV at Twickenham! Head Boy Obi Osuji gave a memorable performance of Shostakovich’s youthful Piano Concerto No. 2, playing both with extraordinary virtuosity and poise, as well as great tenderness in the gorgeous second movement.
The Symphony Orchestra were fantastic accompanists in these two concerti, maintaining a high level of excellence throughout these challenging works. In between, they had a chance to let their hair down a little in a charming miniature by Shostakovich. Tahiti Trot is a tongue-in-cheek arrangement of Vincent Youmans’ ‘Tea for Two’, in which the players vividly captured the contrasting instrumental sonorities of this entertaining score.
The second half of the concert saw the Chapel Choir take to the stage, joined by singers from Form 3 and a professional instrumental ensemble. In the Director of Music’s new arrangement, ‘This is me’ grabbed the attention of the audience from the very start, and was a terrific vehicle for the enthusiastic singing of the massed singers on stage.
The concert concluded with the wonderful setting of the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé. The choral singing was praised as “sublime” in the gentle movements, in which the composer wraps plainsong melodies in his distinctive French harmonies. There was plenty of drama too, with the vigorous singing, fiery organ part and accompanying ensemble all contributing to an extraordinarily accomplished performance.
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