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1940; Ampthill Concert

 

 

It is difficult to look back upon the Ampthill Concert without the reason revolting against the fact that so much could have been accomplished in three days. For it was not until the Sunday evening, that we decided to rush the show through on the following Wednesday evening, rather than abandon it altogether. Three precious days only were left to us, and more than half the first one was spent playing darts in a pub at Luton, with the calmness bred of despair, awaiting what Mr. Hammer pleases to call a "pungently philosophical costumier." To me he was all unmitigated nuisance, rousing me first to a positive frenzy of impatience, and then, as all my urgings produced only "Don't rush me, sir I shall find everything if you don't rush me" (which was manifestly and unashamedly untrue), reducing me to feeble and impotent giggles. However, we procured more or less what we wanted, though such filthy wigs had surely never been seen before, and we dashed back to Ampthill to try to regain our lost time.
I suppose we must have succeeded, for somehow everything was done by 6.45 on Wednesday even if Mr. Hammer was still frantically sticking "Reserved" labels on the seats as the doors were opened. Of the preceding twenty-four hours I have only the haziest memories, of wrenching down and re-hanging the curtains, of building an apron stage of biscuit tins, of borrowing everything imaginable from anybody approachable, of a welter of silk handkerchiefs, of rehearsing in every available corner, of Mr. Horton imperturbably fixing lighting with pirates screaming all round him, and of Mr. Hammer with a notebook in his hand tirelessly keeping check of all that had been done, and all that remained to do. Without his efficiency and energy the Concert could never have taken place.
The entertainment itself came as something of an anti-climax to those of us who organised it, as we were in a continual state of amazement that there should have been any entertainment at all.
The two evening audiences were enormous, generous, and enthusiastic, and ensured that every performer should give of his best. Each night, crowds were turned away, and only the children's matinee, rushed through at six hours' notice, could not be accounted a riotous success. The children were more sophisticated than their elders, and our best efforts failed to raise more than a tolerant smile. Even Mr. Durrant could not move them, and only the Pirate play, and a generous, though ill-timed, distribution of sweets, melted those hearts of flint.
The Pirate play, "Under the Skull and Bones" (Dunn, Fox, Webster, White, Wood, etc.), gave the evening a magnificent send-off, and was as full of fire and action as the confined space would allow. Bennett performed miracles with his ukelele; and three lightning sketches produced by Guest were among the biggest hits of the evening. Knight played the ever-popular "In a Monastery Garden"; and the first half concluded with some rousing songs sung by the Male Voice Chorus, led by Mr. Durrant, and all impromptu guying of "South of the Border" was an instantaneous success. During the interval tea and biscuits (2d.) were provided by our intrepid lady helpers, and sold to as many of the packed audience as could be reached.
The second half began with the one piece of uplift, a 'cello sonata by Grieg, played excellently by Spier and Mills, and enthusiastically received. The same couple later melted the hearts of their hearers with Saint Saens' "Le Cygne," and Legg struck a similarly sentimental note in "God Send You Back to Me." Spier further displayed his versatility in two chromium-plated piano solos, composed by himself. Little Fox's deep bass voiced impersonations of famous film stars caused first amazement and then tumultuous applause, and then Mr. J.S.Durrant, looking unbelievable as a little girl, was such a success that a profitable collection was taken immediately after his number. Ashen provided a tuneful interval of piano solos, and then the evening ended with a performance of "Snobs" (Chittenden, Barry, Knight, D.Hart and Williamson). The sophisticated humour of this came as a refreshing change, and the tantalising odours of real soup and fish were much appreciated.
The Thursday evening show was as successful as the Wednesday, having gained in sureness and timing. We were rewarded, not only by the congratulations of the audience, but also very tangibly by the £12 profit that we made. Of this £10 was given to the fund for elementary school evacuee children, and the other £2 to the Union Chapel, in which we had spent so many happy hours in rehearsing and other pursuits. In all it was a thoroughly interesting undertaking, experienced in conditions never likely to be repeated, and more successful than even the most optimistic of us had dared to hope.
D. L. S.


 

 

1942; School Variety Concert

 

At the beginning of last term it was proposed to hold a concert. The idea behind the proposal was to provide an interesting, activity for the long winter evenings.
The suggestion was enthusiastically welcomed by a large number, so many in fact, that it was found convenient to organise the players into form groups.
Mr. Ninnim selected and arranged a programme. A time-table was drawn up, and rehearsals were started at once and carried out in the small Club room, the Leominster Grammar School, and the Pavilion.
On December 18th the Concert was given at the Church Institute. The programme held the audience from the beginning. Built up to give a continuos performance, it was carried out effectively, without a hitch, and amply justified the amount of work and time put in by all concerned.
The show opened in the authentic concert party manner with a chorus, Laugh and the World Laughs, and closed with a humorous concert item. Some twenty singers, named the ''Songsters," took part. They sang together clearly, their whole performance being a most creditable one. They also rendered Land of Hope and Glory, with A.E.Brown, solo, the audience eagerly joining in the chorus,
The Junior School gave a selection of short sketches, Form ii. performing The Ghost that Gibbered, which was well done and much appreciated by the younger members of the audience. Form iii. undertook two short plays, Nature abhors a Vavuum and The New Mayor. In both these items the diction was clear and the character parts well acted; outstanding boys were Payling, Newell, Doree, D. A. Smith and Taylor.
The Fourth Form were rather unlucky with their play, and decided, two weeks before the show was due, on an entirely new item, a humorous concert song, Tally Ho. C.T. Veal, as a comedian was very funny; while Barrctt was a little lost in his part. However, all are to he congratulated on a praiseworthy effort.
Form Vb. performed two lightning sketches, which were very entertaining. This form also put on a crook play called Stalemate. The character parts were difficult, but Guest, Munday and Munns did well, acting commendably in a piece with a very subtle plot.
The Form VA, item, Broadcasting, was well presented. The outstanding features were Dunn's impersonation of Bruce Bellfrage and Bennett and Davey's imitation of Murray and Mooney. The whole item, was a success because it was simple and did not need any stage props.
Colin Bennett gave a very fair performance with his famous ukulele.
The Vith Form produced a clever play in rhyme called Ask a Policeman, depicting a race track scene. Wickenden as a book-maker and Smith as a schoolgirl were extremely well cast.
Special mention must be made of Mr.Watson, whose various, renderings of The Charge of the Light Brigade brought the climax of the afternoon's laughter.
When one considers the obstacles that were surmounted in putting on the show, it was a good effort and far exceeded expectations. Mr. Ninnim, as producer, put in hours of hard work, and his efforts alone made the show possible. He is to be heartily congratulated. Thanks are due to Mr. and Mrs. Watson for making, up the artistes, which they did most skilfully with a very small allowance of make-up; to Miss Fortescue for dressing the female characters; to Mrs. Ninnim for making costumes; to Mr. Williams for loaning the hall and for his interest and consideration; and to Mr. Rowland Jones for the loan of furniture.


 

 

1944; School Orchestra

 

The orchestra has met regularly for rehearsals since its revival in September, 1944. While evacuated many boys had to forego their music as practice was not possible in the homes of their foster-parents; in consequence there are fewer boys from the upper school in the orchestra than pre-war, but this is being counteracted by the younger members, who have shown much enthusiasm and made notable progress.
The orchestra was augmented when works by Elgar, Percy Fletcher, Handel, Mozart, and Roger Quilter were played as incidental music to the play, Gallows Glorious, presented by the Dramatic Society last term.


 

 

1946; Music Notes

 

The Summer term is not usually a time for music-making, and last term was no exception to the general rule. However, the choir did hold a few practices during the mid-morning periods in the early part of the term. These were discontinued later and there is some leeway to make up. Too many of our members are unwilling to put in a half-hour weekly even, in some cases after having promised to do so. Regular practices and help given by more fourth and fifth-formers would make a great difference and would justify the somewhat arduous tasks involved in overcoming difficulties occasioned by inability to obtain music. Those whose attendance is regular have realised that making music is both useful and pleasant, bringing an understanding and appreciation of the art which listening can never achieve. Some of our choir members add further to their knowledge and appreciation by using the piano and gramophone in Room 1 during the dinner hour.
The violin classes continue to make great strides and we hope for great things in the orchestral direction in the near future. There is room for new members, and boys interested should see Mr. Belchambers.
Mr. Adler's recital at the end of last term consisted of a Corelli sonata, a group of dance tunes, and the Dvorak sonata. Mr. Adler was in exceptionally good form, his playing was enthusiastically received, and rightly so. His explanatory remarks. as well as adding to the general understanding, gave the School an indication of that charm of manner which inspires in his pupils a warm affection equalled only by their admiration for his qualities as a performer.


 

 

1948; Music Recital

 

A recital was given on Tuesday morning, the 2nd of March, by three outstanding artistes: Mr. Adler (violin and viola): Mr. Hughes (bassoon); and Miss Riddle (piano). It was received with great pleasure by the whole School. The soloists prefaced their performances with introductory remarks of great value about their instruments; we all feel now that we know something, at least, about the bassoon and the origin of the violin.
The programme began with an Air by Purcell played on the viola by Mr. Adler. This was followed by Brahm's Hungarian Dance, No. 2, played on the violin with considerable expression and fire; this work especially showed to its best advantage the brilliant technique of Mr. Adler.
Mr. Hughes explained the chief features of the bassoon and continued by playing a theme and variation on the well-known tune Lucy Long. A semi-humorous work, this was very popular with the School. Mr. Adler followed with a set of variations by Corelli in which the accompanist showed her full worth. In this long and difficult solo Mr. Adler's execution of the spiccato passages was especially excellent.
The first movement of Mozart's Concerto for Bassoon was well performed by Mr.Hughes, and Mr. Adler concluded the recital with A Piece in Olden Style, by Fritz Kreisler, which he played with vigour and conviction.
Special mention must be made of Miss Riddle, who, in the Headmaster's words, was "self-effacing but the perfect accompanist." She followed the soloists accurately at all times. A solo performance by Miss Riddle should, we feel, have been included, so that she could reveal her ability in this direction.
The recital was appreciated to the full by the whole School, as their applause testified. We hope that such recitals will become more frequent in future so that music appreciation will become more widespread in the School.


 

1959; Choral and Instrumental Concert

 

The choral and instrumental concert this year, given as last year at Walthamstow County High School, was more ambitious than previous ones, in that the orchestra was our own. In addition, there was a large number of solo items, each directly involving at least two sets of tortured nerves, so that the audience, many members having a personal interest in the proceedings, was nervous in sympathy; but the assurance, real or forced, of the performers soon dispelled this tension, thus undoubtedly helping the performers themselves.
The first work was a piano concerto by John Stanley. On this occasion it was found necessary to leave the recorders out of the orchestra. The solo part was competently played by Michael Nyman on the High School's new piano, and the work provided an enjoyable and satisfying start. Then the High School choir displaced the orchestra to sing two songs by Purcell and one by Quilter. The first of the Purcell songs, "I'll Sail upon the Dog Star", is very English in its brisk cheerfulness, though perhaps superficial for Purcell; but in "Stream Daughters" his harmonic subtlety is given free rein, and intellectually the work is on quite a different level. Quilter provided a little-known setting of "It was a Lover", though one could not feel that he had produced a real alternative to the original version. In all these songs, the skill and discipline of the choir were much in evidence, and the words came through with unusual clarity.
Next came what was undoubtedly the best of the solo items, as was reflected in the enthusiastic applause, the Allegro from Schubert's delightful violin sonata in G minor. The violin part was brilliantly played by John Telford, though some of the more difficult passages tended to sound scrappy, presumably owing to nervousness; since the rehearsals are said to have been even better. Alan Brown played the piano part.
Next in this group of solo items were arrangements for two pianos of Handel's popular "Entry of the Queen of Sheba", from "Solomon", and Arthur Benjamin's outrageously popular "Jamaican Rumba", played by Christine Gooding and Mary Peskett. The texture was confused, mainly owing to the public-house tone of the other piano, but the great virtue of this item was that the performers contrived to keep exactly together, a feat of which the difficulty far outweighs the advantage of mutual insurance against accident.
The same high standard was maintained by a performance of the Allegro from Weber's Grand Duo Concertant by David Bramhall (clarinet) and M. Nyman. The work is a good example of Weber's late classical instrumental style, showy but not without inspiration. This was followed by Gurlitt's Miniature Trio, charming but substantial enough for its size, played by Janice Attfield, Marion Salt and Mary Peskett. This performance was badly affected with nerves, and there was a disappointment in so much talent going to waste. But the result was yet probably much better than the performers think.
When the girls' choir sang another three songs, they ran the risk that so many songs in one evening would produce a confused impression. But the third song, an "Easter Carol" by Thiman, stood out with unusual clarity as being so strongly reminiscent of those stereotyped pieces shrilled by every first-former between doses of musical theory; the last verse was repeated for the benefit of an audience already eager for its clinking cup of tea, nursed through jostling crowds to the sanctuary of a tubular steel seat.
The last music-lover returned his empty cup just in time to be back for Mozart's Serenade in C, a work typical of Mozart and of serenades in general. Many observers have remarked upon the progress shown by the School orchestra in recent months; and, indeed, in many passages there was a fullness and solidity of tone which was a pleasure to hear. The same quality was predominant in the singing of the combined choir, making its first appearance that evening to perform chorale preludes by Bach and Handel. The Handel work, "Schmucke Dich" (deck thyself), is Handel at his best, and stood up very well beside the popular "Jesu, joy of man's desiring," representing the even greater composer, Bach; though it is doubtful whether either master would have approved of the unduly prominent tenor line.
The combined choir was then joined by Mr. John Camburn, of the Savoy Chapel Choir, for the main work of the evening, Gordon Jacob's recent cantata "Highways," which was given what was probably its third performance. This is a highly entertaining work in as wide a variety of styles as the entire concert. Despite its newness, the movement entitled "Penny Farthing" began with a tune which many members of the audience greeted as an old friend, albeit under novel circumstances. Mr. Campurn brought out well the humorous nature of Christopher Hassall's verses and the evening was thus enjoyably ended.
Thanks and congratulations are due to Mr. Sergeant and Miss Berry, who arranged the concert and conducted and accompanied the choral items, and to all those who, in any role, or sometimes in two or three, helped to make the concert such a success.
A. PEACOCK.


 

 

1962; Music Notes

 

This year has seen the formation of a school choir which functions as a regular group. A choir of any real quality cannot be obtained by merely gathering together an assortment of musical boys for a specific occasion: on the contrary it takes a considerable time and requires much hard work to master the vocal techniques needed for even the simplest ensemble singing. The School is very fortunate in possessing a number of boys prepared to devote their time and energies to this end, and they deserve congratulations for the quite considerable success they have already achieved in this field.
Their first public appearance was at Speech Day when they sang I Will Give My Love An Apple arranged by Vuaghan Williams, The Herdmaiden's Song in which Denis Scotchmer sang the treble solo, and Willcocks' arrangement of On Christmas Night. The musical success of the evening was, however, the orchestra's performance of movements from Handel's Water Music, the last movement of which was repeated as an encore, distinguished rather for its exuberance than its accuracy.
At the end of the term there were two carol services, one in the afternoon, for members of the School, and the other, in the evening, for parents and general public. The evening service was more elaborate, containing more carols for the choir which were sung very well. This evening service was much appreciated by those who attended it, and it is hoped that it will become a regular feature of the School's musical activities. We must record the considerable help given us by Barry Rose who played the organ at both services.
The brass ensemble in the School has been working hard and the enthusiasm of this group is beginning to show real results. They were able to play at the Founder's Day Service which was enlivened by their fanfares and interludes. The whole School did not hear the woodwind group, ably directed by D.J.Bramhall, who entertained the guests at the dinner in the evening.
Rehearsals are in progress for a performance of Faure's Requiem and other items on Wednesday, May 9th. This is the most ambitious project attempted at the School, necessitating many hours of careful preparation, and involving nearly all the musical boys in the School. We are hoping that this will be of a very high musical standard as a work of this nature demands. It is a most beautiful composition and if we are able to do it justice it will be a great achievement.
R.O.M.

During the summer term, the School Music Department has successfully performed two concerts.
The first was serious in nature, the main work being the quiet and beautiful Requiem by Faure. This was the first time for many years that the School Orchestra and Choir had combined, and considering this, the performance had many fine points and was a great success. The school was ably helped m this by Mr. John Barrow, the baritone soloist, and Mr. Barry Rose who played the organ, and special mention must be made of Norman Ellard, who sung the 'Pie Jesu' solo very attractively. In the first half, the brass and woodwind groups played several short pieces competently, and Messrs. Barrow and Rose performed some Duparc songs with artistic and musical confidence.
The second concert, in three parts, was in a lighter vein, and consisted of a good variety of short items, and a light comedy operetta, which was the second part. In this, the soloists were David Spelman, Lesley Hollingbury, David Chatterton and Norman Davis, all of whom contributed to a performance which gave much amusement and pleasure to the audience. The lack of operatic experience in these four showed very little, and credit for this convincing production must go to David Wigston and Timothy Goodes.
The School Orchestra opened the first part with a dazzling performance of the Overture to Iolanthe by Sullivan, and, later, the strings performed the Serenade from Hassan by Delius with David Wigston movingly reciting the associated poem, Yasmin, by Flecker. Heraclitus by Stanford was the Choir's opening work, and following, were two fine arrangements of the folk tunes 'I will Give My Love and Apple' and 'The Herdmaiden's Song'. At the end of the first part, Choir and Strings combined to perform 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring', the chorale by Bach, in which the obligato oboe was delightfully played by Richard Bramhall. The other soloist in this half was John Telford who gave a light, musical rendering of two pieces by Kriesler, and played the beautiful violin solo in Hassan. John, who has now left the school, has led the Orchestra for many years, and has given it considerable help, for which the members are truly grateful.
In the last part, notable items included uproarious performances by the brass of 'Seventy-Six-Trombones' and 'Brass Band Boogie', a light hearted male-voice quartet arrangement of 'Old King Cole' and some spirited playing of the Orchestra in the 'Jazz Pizzicato' and 'Wearing of the Green' by Leroy Anderson. At the end of the concert this last piece was encored in accordance with popular demand.
The success of these concerts was due to the hard, but nevertheless, enjoyable work of everyone concerned, and special mention must be made of Mr. Garth Morton, the new string teacher, who has generously given his time to play the violin in the Orchestra at these concerts, and help the brass group out with his expert tuba playing. However, the hardest worker of all has been Mr. Moffatt, who has supplied inspiration for all the boys' work, and by setting his own high standards and persevering with them without ever losing his sense of humour has brought the School's music to its present, unprecedented high standard.
The Choir is now preparing for this year's Carol Service, and other activities will include outside recitals and an evensong at Guildford Cathedral.
R.L.PARRY.


 

 

1963; Music Festival

 

The classes in this year's festival were the same as those of last year's festival, with the addition of a Sight-Reading Class, and a Junior Piano Class. The adjudicator was Mr. Barry Rose, organist of Guildford Cathedral.
The day began with the Junior Piano Class, which was won by G. Carpenter, chiefly because of his use of rubato in Fur Elise.
One of the classes requiring the most preparation was, perhaps, the Ensemble Class. This was won by the brass ensemble, who played a 17th. century piece with neat phrasing and intonation which produced an enjoyable performance.
In the Novices' Class (open instrumental) the two competitors were Carpenter (flute) and Wilson (violin). Carpenter's confident performance, against a less experienced performance by Wilson, won this class.
O turn away mine eyes, by Boyce, was the set piece for the Junior Vocal Class. There were some very musical performances given but the best was a confident, well-phrased performance by J. Cordwell, who won the award.
The most varied and the largest class was the Open Instrumen-tal. Instruments involved included the trumpet (Finch and Spelman), flute (Parry and Steemson), organ (N. Common), oboe (R. Bramhall), clarinet (C. R. Bramley), clavicord (R. Telford), bassoon (D. Chatterton), and trombone (K. Burns). The eventual winner was Russell Parry, who gave an extremely fine and techni-cally near-perfect performance of Concertino by Chaminade. The general quality of this class was so high that the adjudicator's marks were the same in many cases (four people tied for second place).
The Senior Piano Class this year included some interesting pieces. David Lea won with a thoughtful, musical performance of Ravel's Sonatine. Graham Conridge came a very close second because of his technically brilliant performance of Debussy's Jardins .wm.a la Pluie.
The competitors in the Sight-Reading Class (an innovation) were given two minutes to study a Bach prelude before having to play it. Conridge accomplished this with no mistakes and, therefore, was the winner.
The Senior Vocal Class showed much that is promising for the future. Nicolas Common (baritone) won this class with his perform-ance of Di Provenza , Il Mar, Il Suol form La Traviata. Though his performance could have been more animated, the timbre of his voice, in mezzo-forte and fortissimo passages was good. David Chatterton (tenor), singing Donizetti's Una furtiva lagrima, showed excellent suave tone, and came a very close second.
Finally, the unknown quantity of the day, the Composition Class. This included a rhapsodic piece for piano by G. Conridge; a pleasant, tuneful piece for flute and piano by Wilson; an extremely interesting sonata for piano by J. V. Conway in which the composer intended to summarise the peaks of the romantic period; a sextet in the classical style by G. Carpenter, which had been performed earlier as an entry in the Ensemble Class; and a delightful set of variations for clavicord by R. Telford, which he played on the instrument which he had himself built. This composition was the winning entry in a most interesting class.
Our thanks must be expressed to Mr. Barry Rose for giving us his opinions in such a pleasant way, and to Mr. Moffatt for organi-sing the Festival.
To anyone who heard the competitors during the competition it must be obvious that not only is music becoming more popular in the School, but the School's musicians are becoming more expert as time goes on. It is to be hoped that this welcome trend will continue.
NICOLAS COMMON.

 

1963; The Monoux Youth Orchestra

 

This Orchestra consists of most of the members of the old School Orchestra, and also many instrumentalists from the district. The Orchestra's purpose is to afford the opportunity for good musicians to play longer works than can be reasonably attempted by the normal school orchestra.
Our first concert was given on the second of April, after a life of about two terms. The first piece was Malcolm Arnold's Little Suite for Orchestra. The two works by Jarnefelt, Berceuse and Praeludium, were very musically performed by the whole orchestra, the violin solo in Berceuse being played warmly and sensitively, as fits the music, by Garth Morton, the leader of the orchestra.

The best performance of the evening by the complete orchestra was the Beecham arrangement of Handel's Faithful Shepherd Suite. This was played very well, and everyone seemed to get into the mood of the music. What mistakes there were did not interfere with its musicality.

The Suite of English Folk Songs by Vaughan Williams was played with a certain familiarity, and perhaps contempt, by some members of the orchestra who had played it so often before. The rustic mood of the piece was reflected in the three movements which the players met with spirit.

The overture to the second part was Rossini's L'Assedio di Corinto, a difficult piece, especially for the strings, which has for most of its length triplet passages. Both the percussion and brass were allowed to give full vent to their musical feelings. If this piece was not played musically, it was certainly greatly enjoyed.

The main piece of the evening was the Clarinet Concerto No. 2. by Weber, which was played by Antony Pay, a brilliant player who is principal clarinet in the National Youth Orchestra. The solo line was played perfectly, and the soloist's exceptional technique was obvious. The last movement, Alla polacca, was very stirringly played and resulted in a fitting climax. The moving Romance was performed very sensitively and the contrast of the runs of demi-semi-quavers was made very marked. The performance was much appreciated by the audience.

Sibelius's Karelia Suite concluded the programme. This piece suffered from stage nerves and was by no means as good as it had been at the final rehearsal. The first movement melody was played with good tone but the trumpets were inclined to race, and the difficult first-horn part was managed very well by our first-horn player who has only been playing for a fairly short time. The ruminative Ballade was quite well in time, and the 'cello players kept the pizzicato passages very steady. The final movement, a march, formed a fitting climax to the evening.

On the whole this first concert was a very worthwhile endeavour and was enjoyed very much by the disappointingly small audience. We are anxious to increase our numbers by persuading the better young players in the area-and there are quite a few of them-that their enjoyment and experience can be greatly increased by coming together to enable us to perform works of the symphonic repertoire.

P.S.Finch

 

1963; School Orchestra

 

This Orchestra consists of most of the members of the old School Orchestra, and also many instrumentalists from the district. The Orchestra's purpose is to afford the opportunity for good musicians to play longer works than can be reasonably attempted by the normal school orchestra.
Our first concert was given on the second of April, after a life of about two terms. The first piece was Malcolm Arnold's Little Suite for Orchestra. The two works by Jarnefelt, Berceuse and Praeludium, were very musically performed by the whole orchestra, the violin solo in Berceuse being played warmly and sensitively, as fits the music, by Garth Morton, the leader of the orchestra.

The best performance of the evening by the complete orchestra was the Beecham arrangement of Handel's Faithful Shepherd Suite. This was played very well, and everyone seemed to get into the mood of the music. What mistakes there were did not interfere with its musicality.

The Suite of English Folk Songs by Vaughan Williams was played with a certain familiarity, and perhaps contempt, by some members of the orchestra who had played it so often before. The rustic mood of the piece was reflected in the three movements which the players met with spirit.

The overture to the second part was Rossini's L'Assedio di Corinto, a difficult piece, especially for the strings, which has for most of its length triplet passages. Both the percussion and brass were allowed to give full vent to their musical feelings. If this piece was not played musically, it was certainly greatly enjoyed.

The main piece of the evening was the Clarinet Concerto No. 2. by Weber, which was played by Antony Pay, a brilliant player who is principal clarinet in the National Youth Orchestra. The solo line was played perfectly, and the soloist's exceptional technique was obvious. The last movement, Alla polacca, was very stirringly played and resulted in a fitting climax. The moving Romance was performed very sensitively and the contrast of the runs of demi-semi-quavers was made very marked. The performance was much appreciated by the audience.

Sibelius's Karelia Suite concluded the programme. This piece suffered from stage nerves and was by no means as good as it had been at the final rehearsal. The first movement melody was played with good tone but the trumpets were inclined to race, and the difficult first-horn part was managed very well by our first-horn player who has only been playing for a fairly short time. The ruminative Ballade was quite well in time, and the 'cello players kept the pizzicato passages very steady. The final movement, a march, formed a fitting climax to the evening.

On the whole this first concert was a very worthwhile endeavour and was enjoyed very much by the disappointingly small audience. We are anxious to increase our numbers by persuading the better young players in the area-and there are quite a few of them-that their enjoyment and experience can be greatly increased by coming together to enable us to perform works of the symphonic repertoire.

P.S.Finch


 

 

1965; End of Summer term Concert

 

In an attempt to bring to a logical conclusion the tradition of comic opera at Monoux ("Plain Jane", "Three's Company", "H.M.S. Pinafore"), the music department this year decided to concentrate its energies on a production of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi". This work, requiring as it does a considerable degree of musicianship, vocal strength, and acting ability, was well fitted to demonstrate the standard which the musicians of the school have attained at the present time. The opera, one-third of "It Trittico" (three contrasting one-act operas), lasts only fifty minutes, and therefore formed the second part of the concert.
The first part comprised various items by the choir, "The Cloud-Capp'd Towers" (Vaughan Williams), "All God's Chillun" (arr. Malcolm Sargent), "Aubade" (L,alo), and "Dors ma Colombe" (a French folk-song), and some instrumental solos. The choir were heard to advantage in a vigorously effective performance of "All God's Chillun", and a performance of "Aubade" which made apparent the natural charm of the piece. The instrumental pieces were "The Acrobat" (G. Perkins, trombone); "The Comet" (R. O. Moffatt, piccolo); and "Scaramouche" (G. Conridge and R. Flatman, two pianos).
Our problems in presenting "Gianni Schicchi" were not only to present convincing portraits of the female characters, played necessarily by the junior members of the choir, but also to put across the Florentine flavour of the piece. The part of Gianni Schicchi is designed to stand apart from the other characters, and to direct the audience's attention, and therefore laughter, to the idiosyncrasies and human fallibility of the other characters. Nicolas Common, as Schicchi, had the necessary stage presence and vocal ability to achieve these ends in an entertaining and memorable performance, which he obviously enjoyed. The part of Rinuccio, the traditional Italian young lover, was taken by David Chatterton, who gave an ideally youthful performance and sustained well, what is vocally an awkward part; his partner, Lauretta (Leslie Smith) contributed greatly to the charm of the work, not least by a tender performance of the well-known song "O my beloved Father".
To say that the first part of the opera was coherent and did manage to communicate itself to the audience is sufficient tribute to those who took the smaller parts. Anyone who has seen "Schicchi" at Covent Garden will know that the whole of this section leading to Schicchi's entrance, devoted as it is to plot and character exposition on a large and detailed scale, can be disastrously unrewarding. The lugubrious Simone (John Atttield), the grasping Betto (Gary Carpenter) and Marco (David Lea), the cunning Ciesca (Michael Higgins), the splendidly cantankerous and potently senile Zita (Timothy Goodworth), and the realistic and effective Gherardo-Gherardino father-and-son team (Christopher Bishop and Julian Wood), all managed to convey the necessary detail to the audience. Later in the opera we had the eminently stupid Guccio and Pinellino (Geoffrey Holton and Norman Ellard), and two excellent cameos from Peter Freshney as the doctor and lawyer. Our two pianists, Roger Flatman and Graham Conridge, had a formidable task with which they most certainly succeeded.
Mr. Lock's production was at all times clear and effective, and his pleasantly unusual techniques were well received by the cast; the admirably authentic sets certainly aided his task.
Having written so many reports I find it difficult to express our thanks to Mr. Moffatt. Suffice it to say that we are deeply grateful for his unceasing efforts that have resulted in a musical experience we shall never forget.
N. J. Common (formerly of VI T.Lit.).


 

 

1966; Music Competition and Recital

 

THE MUSIC COMPETITION
The competition this year was adjudicated by Mr. Barry Rose, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. The standard of music shown was, on the whole, pleasingly high, but in some classes-notably the Senior Instru-mental Class-there were fewer entries than there could have been.
The day started with the Junior Piano Class. There were three entries: Tonkin, Pattison, and Arnold, who won, playing the Beethoven Bagatelle in G minor.
Next was the Senior Piano Class. Entered for this were Carpenter, Barnett, Hankin, Sadgrove, and Wilson. First was Carpenter, playing the D minor Fantasy of Mozart.
In the Novices Instrumental Class (for boys who have been playing an instrument for less than one year) there were three entries: Freedman, who played "Frere Jacques" on the tuba; Threadgold, who played "All through the Night" on the clarinet; and Winters (flute), who won, playing the Andante from the Veracini Sonata. Winters' playing especially showed great promise, with a firm technique and clear sound.
The Ensemble Class was unmarked, partly because of the difficulties of comparing the different types of ensemble, and partly because the standards of playing differed widely. Three entries were from the three sections of the Junior Orchestra-the Brass played "Austria", the Strings played "Love Divine"-twice!-and the Woodwind played the Hornpipe from Handel's Water Music. The Senior Wind Group played an arrangement of "Drunken Sailor" by Malcolm Arnold. All these entries were commendable in their own way; the Brass were well in tune, and their sound mellow; the Strings played firmly, and were well together; the Woodwind overcame efficiently the technical difficulties of their piece. The Senior Wind Group's piece was of course much harder technically, but after a somewhat shaky start the performance was an enjoyable one, marred only by some out-of-tune chords.
The last class of the morning was the Junior Vocal Class. There was a set piece-'O turn away mine eyes", by Boyce, and most of the Choir trebles entered. Mr. Rose took the unusual step of asking for a "sing-off" between two boys, Ridler and Finch, to whom he had given equal top marks. Both boys produced a clear, pleasing sound, but Ridler sang rather more expressively, and so just took first place.
The afternoon started with the Senior Vocal Class, for which there were five entries--Chatterton, Freshney, Phillips, Woollard, and Hellyer. First was Freshney (baritone), singing "Di Provenza"
from Verdi's "La Traviata". Second was Phillips (bass), singing "Il Lacerato Spirito" from Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra", and third Chatterton (tenor), singing "Recondita Armonia" from Puccini's "Tosca".
In the Senior Instrumental Class there were only two entries, -Chatterton (bassoon) and Pummell (clarinet)-disappointing, con-sidering the number of fine instrumentalists there are in the school. Chatterton won, playing the slow movement of the Mozart Bassoon Concerto.
The Junior Instrumental Class was more satisfactory-there were ten entries (four violins, three clarinets, one horn, one trumpet, one flute). First was Wood (flute), who played two movements from a sonata by Godfrey Finger. His playing showed a firm grasp of technique, and his sound was clear and penetrating.
The final class of the day was the Composition Class. This again was not marked, but Mr. Rose gave his opinion of each of the three entries. He greatly liked Cliffe's Composition for Piano, which was simple but very effective. Conen's "Elegy for solo clarinet" he also liked, comparing it to film music in the way it immediately conjured up atmosphere. Carpenter's Suite for Wind Quartet was a much more ambitious work- and successfully so. The most interesting movement was probably the last", Syncopation".

On the whole we had a very enjoyable day. We are most grateful to Mr. Moffatt for organising it all, and to Mr. Rose for giving up his time to give us the benefit of his experience and criticism.
P.J. Freshney VI 2S

RECITALS
Continuing a trend started last year, there were this year two more recitals put on by boys: one by Stephen Studd (piano) and David Chatterton (tenor) on March 24th, and one by two Old Boys, Nicolas Common (baritone) and Graham Conridge (piano) on June 8th. Both were in aid of the Choir's forthcoming tour of Czechoslovakia.
In the first recital, Stephen Studd played the Toccata by Khachaturian, Liszt's Transcendental Study No. 10 in F minor, Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in minor, and Beethoven's Sonata No. 23 in F minor (the "Appassionata"). The challenge of the modern Toccata was not completely met-the performance lacked fire, and in some parts the rhythm was not as firm as it could have been-but it was nevertheless very impressive. The "Appassionata", however, was almost faultless; the technical passages were brought off well, and the dramatic atmosphere of the work was effectively captured.
David Chatterton sang two groups of songs. The first group comprised four Schumann songs: "Widmung", from "Myrten"; "Waldesgesprach", from "Liederkreis"; "Ich Wandelte Unter den Baumen", from Op. 24; and "Wanderlied", from Op. 35. The second group comprised four of Vaughan Williams' "Songs of Travel": "The Vagabond" "Bright is the Ring of Words", "The Roadside Fire", and "Youth and Love". The "Songs of Travel" probably appealed more to the audience, since they were of course m English and in any case have a more immediate effect than the Schumann songs. "The Vagabond", in particular, was especially well sung, the open-air mood of the song being well caught. Never-theless the Schumann songs were probably better performances, particularly the third ("Ich Wandelte Unter den Baumen"). Cedric Hobbs was an efficient accompanist; his playing was at all times firm and clear.
In the second recital, Graham Conridge played a Bach Prelude and Fugue (The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, No. 8 in E flat minor), Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor (the "Pathetique"), two Chopin Nocturnes, and two pieces by Debussy. His rendering of the "Pathetique" was a sensitive one, the slow movement especi-ally being very beautifully played. This did not, however, over-shadow his playing of the other works; the Debussy pieces in par-ticular were most expressive performances.
Nicolas Common sang "Cortigiani, vil razza" from Verdi's "Rigoletto", and four songs, "Pur Dicesti", "Selve Amiche", "La Serenata", and "A Vucchella". In the "Rigoletto" aria he produced a fine sound, but the performance was rather an unconvinc-ing one; the four songs, however, were faultless, notably "Selve Amiche", in which a consistently mature sound was combined with an expressive rendering of the words to give an outstanding per-formance.
The only disappointing feature of these recitals has been that, like all other music at school, they have been dogged by Monoux apathy; audiences have been appreciative but small. Of course, the most important aspect of these recitals is that they give the student musician a public performance to work for; but even so it does seem a shame that as many people as possible do not hear per-formances of such a very high standard.

P. J. Freshney VI 2S