Christmas Concert – Friday 7th December

Friday 7th December saw the culmination of all the musical activities that had taken place throughout a busy Michaelmas term with the Christmas Concert. Performing to a capacity audience in the Under, the first half centered on performances from the Symphony Orchestra and soloists. Opening with Prokofiev’s evocative Troika, a movement from a film suite, the Christmas mood was immediately created with a complete percussion section adding an extra dimension to the orchestral playing.

Oliver Pilgrim (U6, WB) was the first soloist of the evening and he sang Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ Songs of Travel with panache, style and clarity. Particularly impressive with his diction and delivery, this was a very moving performance in which the orchestra, under the superb direction of Mr Johnson, played with great sensitivity whilst accompanying the baritone voice.

Melissa Terzi (U6, WG), fresh from interviews at Oxford earlier in the week, would then perform the opening movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in C Minor. Opening with a dramatic unison motif, the orchestra performed this most technical and lyrical of music with great style whilst Melissa’s sheer virtuosity and technical skill shone through. With numerous moments of pianistic difficulty, this was a concerto performance well in advance of her years whilst the orchestra enjoyed both the subtle and triumphant moments of this movement.

The final item of the first half was Marquez’s Danzon No. 2. Performed with panache and sheer verve by the orchestra, this was comfortably the orchestra’s greatest challenge in recent years and one which they accomplished with style. Featuring numerous solos in the winds and brass, played excellently by Tom Hopson, Niamh Connellan, Sophie Crooks, Sophia Evans and Melissa Terzi, this work contained numerous moments of rhythmic complexity. 

The second half opened with performance of the Allegro from Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major featuring Sophie Crooks as the soloist. With the nature of this chamber music, this was a very polished performance in which the nuance of every-changing instrumental roles was mastered very well.

The Saxophone ensemble brought back the christmas cheer with a rendition of In the Bleak Midwinter before Mr Smith’s Jazz Band took to the stage. Playing with usual enthusiasm, this ensemble goes from strength to strength and ahead of Cabaret next term, were able to accompany Laura Crooks singing All I want for Christmas is You.

The Concert band brought the concert to a fitting close with performance of Holst’s Chaconne from Suite No. 1 and symphonic highlights from Frozen​. With some very precise playing across the band, this ensemble explored the full musical possibilities under the direction of Mr Thompson. A great evening of music making from the college’s musicians and we look forward to the challenges of next term ahead of the Spring Concert in the Under in March.