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Estere Kajema
Upper Sixth
Hallward's House

The Glory of the Autumn Concert

The Glory of the Autumn Concert

On Wednesday 16th November, we were lucky enough to have a fantastic event happening at Clifton — the Autumn Concert. These seasonal performances are an absolute delight for most of us, but this time I was concerned as it was the first time I would see the School orchestra performing without such amazing musicians as Camilla Brautigam, Loxley Coats and Rosie Quick.

I was not disappointed, though. The first two pieces got the concert off to a fantastic start and were performed by the School Orchestra led by Martin Pring. “Dance of the Comedians” by Bedrich Smetana, an amazing Czech composer from the 19th century; and “March” by George Frideric Handel, a famous British-German Baroque composer, both very emotionally strong pieces and delighted the capacity audience; every single spectator was involved and listening very carefully to the high level of performance.

The second group to play was a cello ensemble with “As Long As He Needs Me”, a 1960 song by Lionel Bart, introduced in the 1960 musical Oliver! It is a lovely song and also a very difficult one to play, but our Cello Ensemble did a very good job.

Next came the Sixth Form Sax Group, including such amazing individuals as Samantha James and Harry Scrase. They performed “Solitude” by Duke Ellington which is a jazz standard; very smooth and wonderful to listen to. But what else would you expect from any Cliftonian Sax Group, but a top class act!

Jonah Trenouth followed with his much anticipated improvisation on “Autumn Leaves”, which originally was a 1945 French song called “Les Feuilles Mortes” and we were not disappointed. It was absolutely breathtaking. Watching Jonah playing piano is a treat and it is so nice to see that he is enjoying his music so much himself. The piece was very rhythmic and though I am sure many of us have heard it before, I expect many now prefer Jonah’s version to the original.

The next two pieces were incredibly famous: The Beatles songs “Yesterday” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”. The first one, again, was a sung solo by Jonah. He was ably accompanied by the angelic voices of our infamous Chamber Choir. Everyone in the audience was very touched by this song, though it was hard not to join in given how famous the lyrics are. “With A Little Help From My Friends” is a very touching song, and was so beautiful. Congratulations to Dylan Trenouth on his solo section.

Next up was the Jazz Workshop and two songs: “The Jody Grind” by Silver and “Work Song” by Adderly. I thought these two performances were unbelievably fabulous and the only question is whether Pavel, the guitarist, should be hailed the new Loxley Coates? We could see how much work had been put into this. It was not only their fingers playing the musical instruments, but also their hearts and souls. Jonah was seriously getting into it, and, following his example, so was the rest on the group.

The String Orchestra performed Symphony No. 10 by a famous German-Jewish composer Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn. He wrote this piece when he was only 14 years old, but it is such a sad, heartbreaking symphony, that it is hard to believe that an average teenage could possibly have that many feelings and emotions, but then of course, Mendelssohn was not an average teenager. The piece was directed by The Amazing Oli Gittings from the side. This was wonderfully executed and the intense concentration from players such as Rosie Stoner showed the focus needed to create such a lovely sound. It is a very tragic and a very touching piece, with a lot of suffering hidden behind the musical notes. This symphony is such a clear example of the fact that art rarely comes from happiness.

Finally, three pieces were performed by the Big Band — an infamous song “American Patrol” by Glen Miller; “Touch of Honey” by Lopez; and “In the Mood” by Miller. Whilst the first piece is very famous and very funky as well and I could see that many people would have loved to join in and jive; the second composition, “Touch of Honey” was very melodic, slow and gentle; and the final piece, “In the Mood”, is probably the most famous tune in the world. It was a great one to finish the concert. I thought it was a fantastic event and am looking forward to next Big Band concert!

Well done to everyone involved.

5 December 2011

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