Perse musicians shine in London concert
After 2012’s successful visit by Perse musicians to London’s prestigious St John’s Smith Square, over 175 musicians repeated the venture last Friday in one of the highest-profile concerts of the school’s musical year.
The audience was treated to stand-out performances from the School’s most senior ensembles. Kicking off proceedings with the Chick Corea standard Spain, the Sixth Form Jazz Band was then followed by two beautiful choral performances from Senior Chorale, singing works by Victoria and Eric Whitacre. Fresh from their workshop with Academy of Ancient Music cellist Joseph Crouch, a small ensemble of string players performed a period-style rendition of music from Purcell’s semi-opera The Fairy-Queen, after which the bells of Big Ben chimed in Nigel Hess’ evocative Thames Journey, played with aplomb by Wind Band I.
Two smaller ensembles began the second half: Big Band with two suitably funky numbers, followed by the school’s Senior Sax Band playing a medley of James Bond themes. The Senior String Orchestra demonstrated impressive mastery of Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro – a notoriously difficult and intricate piece – after which the Senior Symphony Orchestra played a riotous rendition of Rachminoff’s first Symphonic Dance, the highlight being a cantabile saxophone melody that seemingly appears from nowhere, played with panache by Greg Stewart in the Upper Sixth.
We thank the pupils for their tremendous work in preparation for a sparkling event at a busy time of year, and to the assembled audience of parents, Old Perseans and supporters who came to listen!