Russian revels and English excellence

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On Saturday, the University’s Chorus and Symphony Orchestra performed a concert of English and Russian music to a packed audience in Eliot College Hall.

Parry’s rousing  ‘I was Glad’ kicked off the evening, followed, in contrast,  by Lyadov’s evocative orchestral miniature ‘The Enchanted Lake’, complete with some  wonderfully watery sounds from the harp and celeste (ably played by Emma Murton and our very own Dan Harding). Chorus and Orchestra were then joined by tenor soloist and BBC Singer, Robert Johnston, to perform Gerald Finzi’s ‘For St Cecilia’. The Chorus has worked unbelievably hard this term to learn this challenging work, and they certainly came good on the night – even receiving a subtle ‘thumbs-up’ sign from Rob after they had sung a particularly tricky passage perfectly!

Gate of KievThe second half of the concert featured just the one work – Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’. This was a very ambitious choice for the Symphony Orchestra, with some extraordinarily virtuosic passages for all the different sections to capture the drama of each of the paintings and designs. Director of Music and conductor, Susan Wanless, was bowled over by the performance;

“It never ceases to amaze me how all our student performers come so good on the night. During rehearsals I sometimes think that I might have been just a bit to bold in the programming, but invariably everyone rises amazingly  to the occasion. I don’t usually single-out individual players, but a special mention must go to saxophonist Hannah Williams, making her debut as an orchestral soloist, Euphonium player Jonathan Neagle, and especially Ben Lodge for his nerveless and faultless playing in all those scary trumpet solos!”

About Daniel Harding

Head of Music Performance, University of Kent: pianist, accompanist and conductor: jazz enthusiast.
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