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The annual “Encore” is one of the most anticipated and enjoyed musical events of the year – a celebration of success and the very finest musicalEncore 2016_28099 talent across the whole 7-18 Cranleigh Music structure with an atmosphere of jollity and celebration. As usual, all performers were winners of their classes in the Helen Wareham Competition or Prep School Music Competition. A strong showing from all the Prep School performers gave an exciting foretaste of some of the great talent to be coming over to Cranleigh in the next two years. Ben Murphy and Max Martin showed exactly why they had been awarded joint winners of the CPS Vocal Competition with two equally accomplished, but very different, vocal styles by Carissimi and Sam Smith respectively. Moog Clyde (saxophone) and Max Dixon (trumpet) excelled in their laid-back jazz-inspired pieces – Kurt Weill’s ‘My Ship’ being a particular favourite of mine. Edward Trevillion proved as impressive as always in his memorised performance of Schumann’s tricky ‘Wichtige Begebenheit’ and the same could be said for Noah Charlesworth’s accomplished cello playing.

For Cranleigh Senior School, the piano department was represented by Krzysztof Widera with a thoughtfully straightforward BeethovenEncore 2016_28093 ‘Moonlight’ Sonata movement and Ben Wili for an encore of his evocative Janacek. Ben also took the considerable technical difficulties of Bozza’s Badinage well in his stride as winner of the Junior Brass prize. Strings were represented by Millie Mazzone with some beautifully conceived love songs by the much neglected Josef Suk. It was also good to hear Ellen Dixon on such fine form in her first performance of Szymanowski’s ‘Chant de Roxane’. In the woodwind George Chilcott showed what a hugely sensitive instrument the saxophone can be in the right hands. We were also both delighted to hear once again Fayruz Megdiche’s exciting finale of the York Bowen Oboe Sonata and saddened that it will be her final solo performance at Cranleigh after five years of considerable instrumental accomplishment. The same could and should be said of Theo Golden who, together with the accomplished violin obbligato played by Olivia Chesser, gave us a truly heartfelt ‘Erbarme dich’, one of the most beautiful of all J. S. Bach’s arias for solo voice. The Junior Vocal Competition was won by Tabz Francis and she once again used the vocally kind acoustic of the Emms Centre to her advantage with a commanding Vittoria, vittoria! By Carissimi. Eva Solt showed how thoroughly she deserved her Grade 8 Distinction on the French Horn with the beautifully written and played 2nd movement of the Gordon Jacob Concerto.

The Headmaster’s Invitation Performance is always eagerly anticipated as a tradition of the event. This year, in a break from the normalEncore 2016_28091 tradition, the accolade was given to an ensemble rather than an individual. The Senior Choir was invited to recreate the special atmosphere of Allegri’s Miserere, from a Chapel Service in the Lent Term. Spaced effectively around the gallery in accordance with the Italian tradition of groups of voices separated spacially, the soloists were Fayruz Megdiche, Victoria Parker, Theo Golden and Freddie Coates, with David Futcher intoning the plainsong.

Marcus Pashley
Director of Music