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
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