The first 150th anniversary concert performance in the refurbished Chapel, featured two accomplished Old Cranleighans, Matthew Vine and Chloe Allison, and was accompanied by Organist inConcert Series_ OC 150th Anniversary Concert 1_20454 Residence, Phil Scriven.

Matthew, an ex-chorister from St Paul’s Cathedral and Cranleigh Music Scholar from 1981-1985, presented a programme of tenor arias and duets. His warm, rich tone was at its dramatic best in Berlioz’s ‘O sia tranquillo il mare’ from ‘La Damnation de Faust’ and he contrasted this work with other earlier arias that showed his lyricism and control, such as ‘Where’er you walk’ by Handel. Matthew took time to draw our attention to the wealth of musical experiences he was fortunate to have whilst at Cranleigh, and then explained how that had enabled him to go on to sing professionally across Europe and the wider world.

Chloe, a recent Cambridge music graduate and Cranleigh Music Scholar from 2007-2012, presented a variety of works for recorder and voice. Her engaging performing style and sparkling dexterity was evident throughout the programme, especially in the opening ‘Sonata Prima’ by Castello. The audience was particularly captivated by Chloe’sConcert Series_ OC 150th Anniversary Concert 1_20455 performance of the modern piece ‘Meditation’ by Hirose, which explored some intricate and unusual techniques of contemporary writing for recorder. Her ability to create such a different sound world to that which we usually expect from the recorder was much admired. Currently teaching in London, Chloe is considering her very many options for the future, such as returning to academia and further study, or focusing on developing a career in solo performance.

Cranleighans have always been renowned as team players, and our recitalists followed this proud tradition by collaborating on several pieces. ‘Zefiro Torna’ by Monteverdi was a particularly charming end to the evening’s programme, with interweaving melodic lines and rousing rhythmic vitality from the harpsichord accompaniment. This newly flexible Chapel space retained the calm ambience of the building and allowed for a much more comfortable audience experience. We look forward to the symphonic concert with the Merriman Orchestra and soloists on Friday 2nd October.

Catherine Beddison