Cranleigh Music showcased the best of its musicians on Friday 18th May with the Encore Concert where the audience was treated to a second performance from the winners of the Helen Wareham Music Competition. For the first time, Senior School musicians were joined by Cranleigh Prep School’s House Music Competition winners in a joint concert, proudly displaying the musical talents of the whole school.

The Director of Music, Marcus Pashley, introduced the concert which was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Cyril Dashwood, a long-term supporter of the music department. The evening was even more notable as a generous legacy from Mr Jack Cook enabled the school to purchase a new Yamaha piano, which is now housed permanently in the Emms Centre for School concerts. Richard Saxel and Phil Scriven enjoyed playing this wonderful new instrument as they expertly accompanied the students.

The concert began with the winners of the CPS House Music Competition. Emma Grainger, Felix von Spreckelsen, Tabitha Francis and Zoë Dixon had the no doubt daunting task of performing for the first time in the Senior School arena. All four performed with confidence and panache and we look forward to hearing more from these young musicians in the future.

With a wide range of music including Beethoven, Saint-Saëns and Gershwin, the audience listened to a delightfully varied programme. It was a pleasure to listen to both the Dixon girls, Ellen and Zoë, especially having heard them perform a duet in a lunchtime concert earlier in the day. With Ellen’s stylishly mature violin playing and Zoë’s endlessly captivating melodies on the cello they are certainly two to listen out for in the future. Hebe Westcott’s performance of the Poulenc ‘Improvisation in C major’ was no less captivating. She created some beautiful tone colours in this thoughtful and reflective performance, whilst perfectly manipulating the Emms Centre acoustic to her advantage.

The rather sad aspect to the evening however was the realisation that this would be the final performance of Cranleigh’s UVIth musicians. Louisa Golden, with a signature red rose in her hair, performed the Granados-Cassado ‘Intermezzo’ from the opera Goyescas on the cello. With a strident and confident opening, Louisa’s flowing phrases and expressive dynamics made for a passionate performance of this quintessentially Catalan work. Tom Hollister, winner of the Senior Vocal Performance, treated the audience to two songs by Fauré and Quilter respectively. Tom’s melting tone and delightful story-telling gripped the audience from the start. This was a supremely confident performance which exuded musicality from beginning to end.

Whoever questioned the validity of the recorder as a mainstream instrument would have been firmly put in their place by Chloë Allison’s rendition of ‘Rondo danzante-Improvvisazione’ by Bergmann. Keeping her accompanist Richard Saxel firmly on his toes with its constantly changing time signatures, Chloë’s effortlessly virtuosic technique and exquisitely shaped phrases left the audience in no doubt that this was irrefutably accomplished playing. As if that wasn’t enough, Chloë’s final stamp on Cranleigh Music was her performance of a short encore playing two recorders simultaneously, generating an audible buzz from a mesmerized audience. The evening was brought to a rousing finish by Henry Harrod’s performance of ‘Russischer Tanz’ by Böhme. The winner of the Senior Brass Performance aptly displayed the trumpet’s ability to combine both virtuosic dexterity and fluently soaring melodies. Henry superbly brought the concert to a close with an exciting accelerando finish.

A thoroughly inspiring evening left our younger musicians with big shoes to fill. However, the evidently high standard of music making from the students on the night provides a promising future for Cranleigh Music.

RM