Mr Streat reports - A concert – live – with an audience! Oh unbridled joy!
Well, there was certainly an expression of unbridled joy on the faces of Mrs Barnes and her samba group as they opened the evening, from outside no less. The roll of drums, the call of the whistle, and the crescendo as the group trouped through St Mary’s ancient archway… had it ever resonated to the like before? I had the best view of all (I was at the door…), watching Mrs Barnes reverse faultlessly up the aisle with the biggest smile imaginable… and then the moment of genius that took the modern into the ancient as the drum beat was picked up by the symphony orchestra for Rameau’s Dance of the Savages.
What a start!
Mrs Kent then welcomed us all, with another smile so radiant we could not fail to be excited for what lay ahead…. Which was, without further ado, a beautiful rendition of Schubert’s glorious Unfinished Symphony. How on earth have our children managed this? Rehearsals so fraught with restrictions and complications, and yet a performance delivered with the most astonishing virtuosity and emotional impact. I was tingling – I suspect I was not alone in the audience. I suspect the performers were tingling too… it was a truly magical time.
And then more to savour. Cellisti – our cello section in its full unfettered glory under Mrs Alzapiedi, gavotting in style, and then all dreamy over their Mancini Moon River. So lovely.
Next was Nathaniel’s moment in the spotlight as soloist in Philip Glass’s First Violin Concerto, movements 1 and 2 (the latter Mrs Kent’s all-time favourite). Here was haunting lyricism – the pull and push of anguish and emotions at once exposed and explored. It is an extraordinary piece, and Nathaniel’s exquisitely nuanced performance earned him, and the orchestra, prolonged and justified applause.
And so ended the instrumental half of the evening.
We returned after the interval to Miss Weston’s Chamber Choir with chamber orchestra for Rutter’s sublime and emotionally charged Requiem. With the choir stretched from Altar to central Nave by the needs for distancing, and with the orchestra nestled within, the staging itself made for a remarkable performance. Add to that the breathtaking solos by Ella and Esme which resonated magnificently into the furthest recesses of St Mary’s, and an intimacy between performers and audience through this strangely stretched proximity… and the sum total was profoundly moving, exciting, and truly beautiful.
What a way to close.
Our deepest thanks and congratulations to all the performers and conductors for making life glorious once again.
You can watch it all again below!