Although it was rather early in the term, the musicians of King's were unfazed in producing a dazzling concert on Wednesday 14th November. King's Brass opened the evening with an unrelated reference to the winning house song a month before: Thriller. Their controlled playing, crisp ensemble and refined sound have become familiar to us through their many contributions to school services. King's Brass boldly interrupted their MC, Mr. Bettley, just as he began to expostulate on the importance of the conductor, to the great amusement of the audience, finishing their set with a Scottish folk song arrangement, with a beautiful solo from Sam Davis, and Kaempfert's L-O-V-E, with solos from Edward Hyde and Archie Caithness.
Next came Mr. Milone's string quartet whose multitude of nationalities inspired the name Quartetto Internazionale. Their rendition of Mozart's Divertimento in D Minor was spirited, and the middle movement featured the Intermediate String Ensemble who have formed this year, which is mainly composed of pupils from the Remove year group, which is delightfully well-occupied by string players this year. The next item was the Bravura Quartet, also recently formed and under the direction of Mrs. Thorpe. They gave a poised performance of an Air by Henry Purcell with a beautifully judged rallentando at the end. Ms. Hartley's wind quintet followed, with a fun arrangement of 'You've got a friend in me'. It is a real pleasure to have the combination of oboe, flute, horn, clarinet and bassoon within King's, and it is another welcome addition to our chamber music programme here.
Jazz Band brought the first half of the concert to a close with Forty-Second Street, Rockin' Lobster, and Africa. The group showed some really sophisticated rhythmic playing, with some assured soloing from Leon Neubauer, Archie Caithness, Edward Hyde, and Oscar Pyrke. The inclusion of Africa within the programme was a definite hit with audience members and the tune was certainly rattling around our minds for some days afterwards.
After the interval, the Wind Band opened the second half with the Valdres Concert March by Swedish composer Johannes Hanssen, which they followed with Due North and Arrows, both modern concert band pieces with driving rhythms and catchy melodies. Many comments were heard about the precision and musicality of the group, and the brilliant repertoire choices of Mr. Vinall.
The senior choir began their set with a procession onto the stone platform as the organ introduced their first piece - or so it seemed. After the famous and inevitable build up to the first choral entry of Zadok the Priest, total silence fell, with just a few audience members singing the first line. Confusion broke out amongst the audience, but before a riot broke out, Mr. Mountford explained that the choir were actually going to dedicate a performance of one of Mr. Walker's favourite pieces, Locus Iste, as a thank you for his support towards the choir and the music of all of the concerts and services over the last six years. The choir followed that moment with 'A New Song' by Scottish composer James MacMillan. Its slow deployment of simple melodies in the outset, supported by cold harmonies from the organ are contrasted by the warmth of the other sections and some challenging ornamentation in the vocal parts. At the end of the piece, the choir fade away, dominated by a huge organ crescendo which keeps building for several minutes. The choir finished with a modern gospel classic: Chillcott's 'Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit', complete with choralography - perhaps something they will be bringing to chapel services from now on...
The orchestra brought the evening to a conclusion with Holst's Jupiter from the Planets Suite. It was a real pleasure to welcome back Rachel Cox (OR) on oboe, and that Mr. Morgan, the new Headmaster of the Preparatory School, joined us on the violin. The whole orchestra had worked with determination to bring together this challenging piece, which was so enjoyable to perform. Very many congratulations to all the performers on an excellent evening of music.
Mr J Mountford, Director of Music