19 May 2015

Alan Adler Concert 2015

One of the centerpiece concerts in the Music department calendar at Sevenoaks, the Alan Adler concert is always a spectacular showcase of the finest musicians the school has to offer, and this year’s was no exception.

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The concert began with three pieces by Grieg, performed by the Sevenoaks Strings: ‘The Death of Åse’, ‘Anitra’s Dance’, and his Scherzo-impromptu. Their control of Grieg’s ever-popular music was impressive, and the slow ‘Death of Åse’, in particular, was sublime. The Sevenoaks Strings were followed by the Senior Girls’ Ensemble. This small ensemble of girls from Year 10 and upwards has grown in popularity in recent years, and their performance of Three Two-part Songs by Britten and the spiritual songs ‘This Train is Bound for Glory’ and ‘Steal Away’ demonstrated their impressive close-harmony singing. ‘Steal Away’, with its historical use as a signal song among the enslaved African people, was particularly moving. 

An interlude of chamber music followed, where Chantal Wong, Elizabeth Shaw and Lou Warnett played Dvořák Piano Trio No 2. The combination of these players’ skill and their commendable interaction with each other provided a real treat for the audience, and provided a superb reminder of the strength of chamber music at Sevenoaks. The first half was concluded by the Sennocke Consort. Always a jewel in the crown of Sevenoaks’ rich choral tradition, their performance was nuanced and hugely enjoyable. Skillfully conducted by Toby Carden, the choir performed Dieu! qu’il la fait bon regarder by Debussy, Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis, by Ravel, with soloists Francesca Carver, Tabitha Steemson, Naquib Rahman and George Evans-Thomas, and Les Djinns by Fauré.

The second half of the concert was dedicated to the two largest orchestras in the school. The Foundation Orchestra performed first, with the piece ‘Russia’, a skillful arrangement of many of the famous Russian piano concertos by Christopher Dyer. Under his baton, this orchestra, comprised of 88 musicians from Years 7 to 9, rose magnificently to the challenge of accompanying the eight pianists, who all excelled in their contribution to this highly successful performance. They were followed by the Symphony Orchestra, who, again conducted by Christopher Dyer, played the hugely exciting Polovtsian Dances by Borodin. This comparatively short but nonetheless thrilling performance showcased the skill of the school’s senior musicians and rounded off a highly enjoyable evening. Congratulations to all who performed and those who worked so hard to make the concert such a success.

Isla Stevens

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