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The London Concert

Just before half term Bryanston’s musicians returned to London for their annual London Concert. 

This was the first London Concert since the opening of the stunning, state-of-the-art music school at Bryanston and a large audience packed St. John’s, Smith Square in eager anticipation – they were not to be disappointed. We have all come to expect an incredibly high standard at these concerts, however pupils continue to amaze us with their brilliance and sheer professionalism. The audience also deserves a mention as the warmth and enthusiasm with which each piece was received no doubt brought out the very best in all the performers, and enabled them to rise to the occasion.

The concert opened with two beautifully controlled performances by the String Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Christina Scott. Gavin Hoang being the first in a number of featured soloists, with his assured performance of Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G major. Hannah Post’s exquisite playing of Gabriel’s Oboe was followed by a truly memorable performance of Tanto Gentile, composed by Duncan Emerson and inspired by a visit to Tuscany and Puccini’s birthplace. This beautiful performance by the orchestra and soloist Henry Cooper, coupled with the unseasonably warm temperatures both in and outside the church, helped to bring a flavour of Italy to central London. William Chaffey’s rousing piano playing in Variation XVIII from ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’ was followed by The Lord is My Shepherd featuring soloists Angelica Luther and Charlotte Salter, and the first half was rounded off with a stirring performance of Band of Brothers. This piece was chosen to mark the centenary of the First World War and the orchestra was magnificent throughout.

The second half featured uplifting performances from the three choirs with music ranging from Jesu! Dulcis Memoria by Richard Shephard to And So It Goes by Billy Joel and there were some wonderful solos throughout. The Guitar Group also made history by appearing in the London Concert for the very first time and the audience listened intently to their intricate performance of the flamenco style piece La Anadidura. Although those at the back of the church may have had to strain slightly to hear them, I am sure everyone appreciated the ensemble’s exuberant playing. The Concert Band was as impressive as ever with their spirited performances providing the climax to the evening’s entertainment and Meg Hughes-Chamberlain deserves particular mention for her cello solo in Angelo del Cielo.

It takes a huge amount of hard work both on the part of staff and pupils alike to achieve such an outstanding and varied programme, and this they do with enthusiasm and a fantastic sense of teamwork. The pleasure of making and sharing music with others is clear for all to see, as is the abundance of musical talent.