Tuesday, 15 February 2011


The last three blogs have dealt with musical matters and it is most appropriate to end the series with a report on a concert at the Hall.

For some years Past Master Sir Nicholas Jackson Bt has organised three spring concerts at the Hall.  The intention is to provide an opportunity for the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and, on occasion the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, to showcase their talent at the Hall.  Many of the performers also hold Drapers' Music scholarships.  These include the five bursaries awarded annually by the Baroness de Turckheim scheme to outstanding British vocal students at each of the four London conservatoires and the Royal Northern College of Music.

On 9 February the Royal College of Music provided the musicians and a singer.  They were a most impressive line up. 

Ilya Movchan on violin gave a totally committed performance of Brahms Violin sonata no 1 in G major and the very challenging Ravel violin sonata, also in G major.  He played with such energy it kept us clinging on  by our metaphorical fingertips.  Yulia Vorontsova gave a most intelligent rendering of Debussy's Suite Bergamesque which was followed by a committed and passionate performance of Liszt's Venezia and Napoli. 

Martha Jones, one of this year's de Turckheim Scholars and a most impressive young Motzartian, was a most convincing Cherubino.  She gave a sparkling performance of Voi che sapete from act two of the Marriage of Figaro and was beautifully supported on the piano by Belinda Jones.

After the performance Martha told me a great anecdote about a recent outdoor, lakeside performance of Cosi fan tutte in France where she was singing the part of Dorabella.  In that poignant part of the First Act where Dorabella and Fiordiligi say farewell to their lovers Ferrando and Guglielmo, who are supposedly setting of for military service overseas, they sing with their tormentor, Don Alfonso, Soave sia vento - 'May the wind be gentle.' 

In this performance Ferrando and Gugliemo's departure was for real and they stepped into a boat moored in the lake and set sail.  In the middle of this touching little scene Ferrando fell out of the boat into the lake in the full view of all.  She said keeping a straight face while the audience collapsed laughing while a very splashy rescue operation got underway was an immense challenge.  Luckily Ferrando and Guglielmo spend the next chunk of the opera disguised as Albanians but when they had to change back for the final scene Ferrando rather squelched around the stage in his sodden costume with his companions trying hard not to corpse.

We were delighted that Professor Colin Lawson, Principal, and Vanessa Latarche, Head of Keyboard Studies, were present to watch the most impressive performances of their students.

The next concert at the Hall is on 8 March.  If you are a member of the Company and haven't booked why not come along? It will be a great evening.

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