RGS Guildford courtyard with students

Concerto Concert

The Concerto Concert with Southern Pro Musica has justifiably become one of the stellar events of the RGS musical year, and this year’s performance in Holy Trinity Church, was no exception. In front of a large audience, seven performers took to the stage in what was simply an outstanding display of musicianship, which held the audience captivated from the very outset.

The evening opened with James Dicker’s highly expressive performance of the first two movements of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor. From the majestic opening to the sensitive and lyrical melodic lines of the slow movement, James dazzled the audience with his technical prowess leaving them in no doubt that they were in for a very special evening. Max Kaczor’s magnificent performance of Ferdinand David’s
Concertino for Trombone showcased his impressive technique and stamina. Max conjured up a remarkable range of colours from the trombone conveying the swiftly changing moods required from each of the three movements. This was accomplished playing and shone light on some much-neglected repertoire. Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor is one of the mainstays of the Western canon of classical music and beloved
of concert audiences around the world. The mellifluous and mysterious opening was deftly handled by Joseph Ryan whose astonishingly accomplished performance was simply breath-taking not only in terms of its technical control but also the extraordinarily high level of musicianship on display. This was remarkable playing but made even more so given the fact that Joe is still in the Fourth Form.

The second half of the concert opened with Rohan McCauley’s performance of Garbriel Fauré’s Ballade
for Piano and Orchestra. Rohan’s playing was utterly exquisite from the outset. Lyrical, cantabile lines were juxtaposed with long passages of technically demanding writing, which Rohan masterfully had fully under control. Then followed two works that are mainstays of the concert hall. Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor and Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E Flat major performed by Robbie Mackay and Thomas McLean,
respectively. Both works not only require tremendous technique, but levels of musical maturity rarely seen from such young performers. From the dramatic triple stopped chords of the opening to the heart-breaking melody of the main movement, Robbie’s performance of the Elgar was commanding and held the audience on the edge of their seats. The final movement of the Hummel requires extraordinary stamina and control,
and this was evident in abundance in Thomas’s performance, which rightly received rapturous applause from the audience at its close.

The final performance of the evening came from Joseph Howes. Alexander Glazunov’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone is not a work known by many but is one that showcases the sheer technical possibilities of the
instrument in abundance. Joseph’s bravura performance, with its mixture of long melodic lines and virtuosic semiquaver passagework, brought the evening to a fitting end. With ovations aplenty throughout the evening, the extraordinary levels of musicianship on display from each of the performers was astounding, with each
receiving many compliments from members of the profession orchestra that had accompanied them so magnificently. One final mention should also be made of the many boys who played alongside their professional counterparts in the orchestra. This is always difficult music and the fact that they were able to do so and to do it so well is testament to their own abilities and prepares them well for their own concerto
performances in the future.

A concert such a this is no mean undertaking, from programme design and front of house to orchestral management and the many hours of hard work by our team of instrumental staff behind the scenes. This was a real team effort, and I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my colleagues for all their hard work and support in making this very special concert such a tremendous success.

Mr Sam Orchard
Director of Music