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In the month of the American presidential election, it was fitting to devote some time within the Concert Series to explore American popular music. Featuring the development of musical theatre styles and influenced by the growth of jazz, this concert was a collection of attractive pieces and was extremely well received by the appreciative audience. 

Lucy Cronin and Marcus Pashley radiantly performed a selection of delightful songs from the shows, including pieces from Carousel, Southcranleigh-american-dreams-concert-9327_35772 Pacific, Kiss me Kate and Porgy and Bess. Excellent communicators, they both sang from the heart and showed real commitment to the text. They were ably accompanied by pianist Richard Saxel, who showed great sensitivity both in his ensemble work and his beautiful solo rendition of Arlen’s ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’.

Phil Scriven dazzled on the organ with complex versions of well known pieces arranged for organ, such ascranleigh-american-dreams-concert-9027_35726 Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘America’, better known as the melody to our National Anthem, ‘God save the Queen’. His dexterity and nimble footwork was very skilful and his imaginative use of registrations allowed for a huge range of textures and timbres. His student and staff ensemble, Cranleigh Voices, also made a strong contribution to the programme, singing classicalcranleigh-american-dreams-concert-9096_35733 settings and choral jazz arrangements. They were especially effective in Lauridsen’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ with its lyrical lines and soaring melodies.

This concert was a perfect opportunity to appreciate the complexities and subtleties that this genre can present, and the audience was really fortunate to be able to enjoy such a wide range of pieces within the programme.

Catherine Beddison
Head of Prep School Music