Music Week at Stonyhurst
Stonyhurst’s musical talent has dazzled audiences attending a variety of concerts and musical events over the last week.
The Big Band brought Music Week to a triumphant close on Saturday 12th May with a special fund-raising evening for its autumn tour to China and Hong Kong. The Top Refectory was festooned with Chinese flags, lanterns and dragons and an audience of over 100 people enjoyed all the Big Band favourites, including Fly me to the moon, A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square and the themes from James Bond and Pink Panther.
In total contrast, the week opened with this term’s Headmaster’s Concert. Lucia and Matty Turner (Poetry and Syntax) played Schubert’s delightful Ballet Music from Rosamunde which was followed by Olivia Haworth’s performance (Grammar) of the Presto movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in F, K280. Three Rhetoricians played next: Yoann Belon gave a committed, heartfelt and truly musical interpretation of Liszt’s La Campanella, which was followed by Michelle D’Souza’s characterful and atmospheric interpretation of Debussy’s Dr Gradus ad Parnassum. Laura Erel concluded the first half of the concert with an impassioned performance of Dohnanyi’s Rhapsody in C, with a rich variety of subtle dynamic and textural changes. (The piece is part of her LRSM diploma programme which she will take this summer). The second half included performances from 4 Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall music scholars. (link)
Laura and Yoann
Schola Cantorum then gave an early morning May Bank Holiday recital in the Top Ref, performing a characteristically varied programme, from the Renaissance madrigal, Now is the month of maying (Morley) to John Rutter’s jazzy, nonchalant take on Shakespeare’s It was a lover and his lass; a Cornish theme then set in, in honour of Mr Gordon Brown’s departure next December to take up the headship of Truro School: Noah Williams (Lower Grammar) and Simon Whittle (Poetry) lead the Song of the Western Men, with their good swords, trusty hands and merry hearts; Mr Gordon Brown himself then sang a solo verse of Lamorna (a cautionary tale about a roving eye), before everyone romped through the Floral Dance. The Complete History of Western Music still left time for a delicious breakfast before the first lesson (almost).
Schola Cantorum and soloists: Noah, Mr Gordon Brown and Simon
On Monday evening the Brass Group performed the programme they had played in the Cardiff Millenium Centre last month,leaving no-one in any doubt of this ensemble's musicality, style, diversity and stamina!
The Stonyhurst Brass Group
The recital of piano duets planned for midweek had to be postponed, sadly, due to the illness of one of the duettists but Stonyhurst piano teacher, Mr Paul Greenhalgh happened to have a solo recital up his sleeve which everyone enjoyed instead: Mozart’s Sonata in F K332, Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Reflets dans l’eau, Beethoven’s Sonata in C sharp minor Op 27 No 2, Chopin’s Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor Op 31, Nocturne in F Op 15 No 1 and Polonaise in A flat, Op 53. The audience enjoyed the brilliance, expressiveness and tonal variety of his playing as well as the informative introduction he gave to each piece.
Finally, after the emotional and physical power of Romantic piano music came a delightful recital of Renaissance and Baroque music on the spinet. The instrument was kindly donated to the College by Lady Clothier, widow of Sir Cecil Clothier OS who had built it, and we were delighted that she was able to attend. The programme included music by Rameau, Bach, Vivaldi and Quanze. Lady Clothier, herself an accomplished musician, was most impressed by the performers’ mastery of the spinet: the instrument’s delicate plucking mechanism and tiny keys require an entirely different technique.
The Headmaster, Lady Clothier, Lucia, Michelle, Laura and Matty.
Thanks go to all the performers, music teachers and, of course, to Dr Kevin Morgan, the Director, and Assistant Director of Music, Mr Greg Mann and Mrs Mags Allanson, for their boundless energy, enthusiasm, commitment and inspiration.