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In the second week of term this year’s record number of Senior Music Scholars delighted the audience with an accomplished programme (see junior-music-scholarsseparate review) and last Friday was the turn of the Junior Scholars. It is wholly appropriate that the foremost musical talent in the school should lead the way in the packed performance year to come. There are six brand new Junior Music Scholars in the Fourth Form this year, joining the thirteen in the Lower and Upper Fifth Forms. An important aspect of learning the art of performance is how to channel nerves into a positive and performance-enhancing experience. These six, already no strangers to public performance, coped admirably with the nerves of their first Cranleigh performance, all showing great promise for the future. They were: Henry Rigden (piano), Noah Charlesworth (cello), Jacopo Bounous (trumpet), William Marshall (voice), William Barnicoat (saxophone) and Max Dixon (trumpet).

The many other fine performances from ‘old hands’ as Richard Saxel, Head of Performance put it in his introduction, were too numerous to comment upon individually, but it would be wrong not to mention a few highlights – performances which really showed that a good deal of hard work had gone on over the summer holidays. Jasmine Davis and Kate Wili are both very accomplished flautists, and each emphasised a different aspect of performance. For Jasmine it was great beauty of tone and secure breath control in the 1st movement of Mozart’s K.285 Flute Quartet; for Kate it was impressive technical command and sparking articulation in an Allegro by Wilhelm Popp. In the same way, two saxophonists stood out for their really stylish execution: George Chilcott showed great rhythmic drive in James Rae’s Toccata Latino, and Reuben Gray proved just how well the music of J. S. Bach can transfer to the saxophone in an arrangement of the Sonata in G minor, a performance of great control and stylish musicality. James Thornton-Wood tackled the hugely demanding 1st movement of Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 with gusto and admirably accurate pitching across the huge range of the instrument – not at all easy!

Tonight was certainly not in any way competitive, but I think many would agree that it was in the pianism of Ben Wili and Millie Mazzone that we heard exceptional accomplishment. These two highly talented individuals both responded to the considerable musical demands of their very different chosen pieces with great maturity and authority, holding the audience in the palm of their hands. Ben captured the playful nature of three Bagatelles by Howard Ferguson and Millie brought out great clarity of line and musical ebb and flow in Franz Lizst’s famous Liebestraum.

The Lower and Upper Fifth Form performers were: Sophie Howard (violin), Jasmine Davis (flute), Kate Wili (flute), George Chilcott (saxophone), Reuben Gray (saxophone), Katherine Carr (harp), Lina Mazzone (piano), Ben Wili (piano), Louis Jenkin (trumpet), William Grainger (euphonium), James Thornton-Wood (French horn) and Millie Mazzone (piano). Thanks are also due to piano accompanists Philip Scriven and Marie Ward.

We are blessed with a very strong cohort indeed of Junior Music Scholars and we look forward to their continuing musical successes in the year ahead.

Marcus Pashley
Director of Music