The first concert of the new academic year saw the six Senior Music Scholars present substantial works in a varied programme to a warm and enthusiastic audience. Although early in the term, this annual event provides a platform for our advanced musicians to showcase their work, and ensures that the new year begins with a strong impetus.

Lina Mazzone (piano) gave a touching account of Ivor Gurney’s Nocturne, voicing the simple folk-like melody beautifully, and demonstrating a vivid tonal palette and outstanding control, before Elwyn Rowlands (violin) gave a sophisticated account of J.S.Bach’s Gigue from the Suite for solo violin. She demonstrated a mature understanding of the harmony and implied musical lines, with excellent articulation and a range of expression, alongside a growing confidence on stage.

Frankie D’Agata sang Brahms’ Wiegenlied (lullaby) with appropriate simplicity, and the unaccompanied folk song O Waly, Waly with a palpable sense of vocal control; its bittersweet message conveyed in a genuinely heart-felt manner. James Thornton-Wood recently gained his ARSM Diploma on the french horn, and presented one of his pieces (the first movement of Mozart’s Concerto no.3) with a refined classical elegance, full of subtle phrasing, and made light work of the considerable technical demands of this well-known piece.

Millie Mazzone also has an ARSM Diploma (piano), and performed Mendelssohn’s challenging Rondo Capriccioso, contrasting some beautiful lyrical sections with perfectly judged dexterity in the fast scherzo sections, reminiscent at times of the scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. George Chilcott (alto saxophone) performed Eric Coates’ Saxo-Rhapsody stylishly, handling its long romantic phrases adroitly, and with a sweet tone, particularly in the high register. George has a natural command of his instrument, and uses it to present his musical ideas with clarity and conviction.

Whilst each of the performers will use this event to further consider ways to improve their interpretations of these pieces, the audience clearly appreciated the obvious hard work and commitment that had gone into producing such a high quality concert at this stage in the term. We are in for an exciting year of music-making; next Friday evening the Junior Music Scholars have their chance to perform for the first time this year.