Thursday, December 04, 2008


King Edward VI School Chelmsford


Gustav Holst's charming, folksy St Paul's Suite was dedicated to his gifted pupils at St Paul's Girls' School, so it was an appropriate choice for KEGS Chamber Ensemble. Conducted by Tim Lissimore, they gave it an energetic, exciting performance, with superb solo work from leader Vincent Morris.

Philip Lane was a schoolteacher, too, and his Celebration Overture was the first of three works from the Senior Orchestra. The most enjoyable was Dukas' ever-popular Sorcerer's Apprentice, with its hard-working bassoons, but the most impressive was Delius' Walk to the Paradise Garden – cool woodwinds against shimmering strings, and some stirring climaxes.

The Wind Band, led by Rosemary Harvey, began with a jaunty, jazzy version of Vaughan Williams' Sea Songs, before letting their hair right down with Mancini, Mission Impossible [tightly played under the baton of Director of Music Tim Worrall], and the hard-to-avoid Hairspray. A very professional sound from this huge ensemble.

The training ensembles gave us a wide range of genres too, with Offenbach's Can Can from the Junior Orchestra, led by Brian Chan; their pizzicato was heard to great effect in Rustic Dance. And KEGS Strings, rehearsed and conducted by students, contributed Abdelazer, Adiemus, and, most successfully, Wallace and Gromit.

In a couple of hours we heard music-making of a range and a standard which many specialist schools would envy. Not through initiatives or special funding, but thanks to tireless enthusiasm, inspirational teaching and leadership, and enlightened parental support. Long may it continue.


Anonymous said...

Impressive concert overall, but surely people must have noticed the dodgy opening of the 2nd movement of the St Paul's Suite (caused by a 3:1 imbalance of the two "halves" of the 2nd violins).

Michael Gray said...

I'm sure you weren't the only one to pick that up, Sasha, but in my 200 word allocation there's no room for detailed analysis, and I admit that I do accentuate the positive ...
Thanks for commenting, though, I wish more people would tell me what they think !

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