27 March 2018

Alan Adler Memorial Concert 2018

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Sevenoaks School’s annual Alan Adler Memorial Concert is always a huge success, and 2018 certainly maintained this expectation. This year featured two of the larger ensembles – the Sevenoaks School Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra – both of which performed repertoire of a very high standard with a sense of professionalism.

The Chamber Orchestra began the concert with Bach’s fourth Brandenburg Concerto in G major, conducted by Mr Christopher Potts. This was an incredibly polished performance with great character and understanding of this complex music. The featured soloists were Mervyn Tong (violin), Mika Curson and Amelia Ross (recorders), all of whom stunned the audience with their musicality and artistic assurance.

The dance-like Allegro brought a lively atmosphere, only to be contrasted with a simpler yet beautiful Andante. This movement in particular drew the listener’s attention to the interaction between the two recorders. The final movement, Presto, had great drive and energy and concluded this item with flair. Particular mention goes to Mervyn’s virtuoso passage-work in this movement, as he managed to handle these demanding runs with ease.

Following this, the Symphony Orchestra rounded off the first half with Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance Overture, conducted by Mr Christopher Dyer. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas are light-hearted and fun, which always put a smile on one’s face, and the performance reflected this.

After the interval, the Symphony Orchestra played Schubert’s 8th Symphony in B minor. This consists of two contrasting movements; Allegro Moderato and Andante con moto. Mr Dyer took the first movement at a suitable lively pace, giving it momentum, and the contrasting episodes of the rondo form had variety. The second movement created a peaceful, serene atmosphere, featuring solos in the upper woodwind which were sympathetically executed. Overall this made for a stylistic performance of this great symphony; a shame it was left unfinished! The concluding item to this concert was the Rákóczi March from The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz. This had a huge amount of energy yet it was well controlled – the ensemble was especially tight in this, and the tempo changes were handled and communicated very well.

Every aspect of this concert was a triumph; huge congratulations to all students and staff involved, and an acknowledgement to Mr Potts and Mr Dyer for their hard work and dedication to the orchestras.

Madeleine Brown

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