Twenty Lower School musicians entertained the audience in the Clive Stevens Recital Hall on the last day of February in a two-hour concert of ear-tickling variety. The young players all benefited from the professional and sympathetic piano accompaniments of Marie Ward and Richard Saxel. The brass winner was hornist Eva Solt for a dignified rendition of the Romance by Saint-Saёns, second was Theo Golden for a stately but lively last movement of the Haydn concerto and third was Ed Walshe in Glazunov’s horn Reverie: thoughtfully phrased with rich tone.
There were many woodwind performances that might well have won a prize in previous years, such as George Pettifer in Finzi; Daniel Evans in Balogh (HEY!); Harry Simmonds in a jazz version of Gershwin; and Emma Grainger in Poulenc. But the adjudicators (Marcus Pashley, Kevin Weaver and Catherine Beddison) were unanimous in awarding the third prize to the musicality of Freddie Hawes, playing Bach on saxophone, and second prize to clarinettist Ellen Talbot who played Weber with a pleading purity. The clear winner was oboist Fayruz Megdiche, who played her (and my) favourite Grovlez piece even better than ever. The sarabande was as magical as ever but the allegro section was even niftier than before, but without losing the gossamer delicacy appropriate to this adorable French piece.