The Brass round of the Helen Wareham music competition last Friday showcased the School’s brass playing talent. Upper sixth former Eva Solt was the first to perform and she chose the famously challenging Strauss horn Concerto.  Eva’s performance was full of panache and her rich and full tone allowed the music to sparkle.  Lower sixth former Christian Oldfield played the trumpet and his rendition of American composer, Copland’s ‘Quiet City’ was full of atmosphere and mystery.  Christian’s clear and precise playing, together with his mature tone, really broughtHelen Wareham Brass Winners_23797 this piece to life and allowed the audience to be transported to another land. Ed Walshe (UVI) chose a rather unusual piece for French horn called ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ by Heusen.  It’s not often that one associates the French horn with jazz but this piece would not be out of place in Ronnie Scotts jazz club.  Ed effortlessly captured the laid back feel with his lovely playing and sensitively shaped phrases.

The junior section featured our youngest brass scholar, William Grainger (IV), on the euphonium. Will performed an arrangement of Marcello’s Sonata No.1. The opening Largo enabled him to perfectly demonstrate his smooth tone and carefully considered phrasing. The Allegro was wonderfully energetic and bouncy in character and it was here that Will showcased the euphonium’s aptitude for virtuosity. Louis Jenkin (LV) played Andante et Allegro by Ropartz on the trumpet and his clear tone was evident throughout and was especially notable in the higher register. Louis’ playing was elegant and musical as he clearly displayed his natural musicality. James Thornton-Wood (LV) completed the French horn section with his rendition of Reverie by Glazunov, displaying excellent control as he negotiated the rather challenging hand-stops and high register playing. His lovely tone and beautifully shaped phrases shone through to provide an all-together admirable performance. Ben Wili (LV) was the final junior competitor to perform on the trumpet and he chose to play Küffner’s Polonaise, Op.126. Ben’s confidence was evident from the outset as he aptly mastered the fast flowing passages with ease. His performance was full of dynamic contrast and his accuracy of articulation and pitching were notable.

Thanks must go to Richard Saxel for his superb piano playing and sensitive accompanying, as well as to the adjudicators, Marcus Pashley, Catherine Beddison and Marie Ward. The three senior players now proceed to the final of the Helen Wareham Competition on 2nd March and Ben Wili was the overall winner of the junior class.

Ruth Williams
Head of Woodwind and Brass