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Sunday 9 February 2020

3:00 pm • Retiring collection

University of Surrey Showcase Concert

A concert from a selection of outstanding University of Surrey music students

The University student team after last year's concert

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University of Surrey`s first visit to us this season, was on Sunday afternoon 9th February, when they presented their "Assessment Showcase Concert" where music students in various stages of their training are given the opportunity of performing in front of an audience other than that of their fellow students.

In a slightly different format, this year we heard four singers , three instrumentalists and two solo pianists with all the piano accompaniment being provided by the splendid Dr. Maureen Galea.

With the exception of the first Tenor who commenced the programme with songs by Purcell and Haydn, the other three singers were Sopranos, and all chose programmes which showed a large mixture of abilities. All had strong voices with good intonation and easily gained the top notes although occasionally at the expense of sweetness of tone. However, we enjoyed works such as Mascagni`s Ave Maria from "Cavalleria Rusticana", Grieg`s "Solveig`s Song" and Schubert`s" Gretchen am Spinnrade" the two latter being beautifully sung. with a pure voice throughout. A further group of three songs which were much enjoyed were Mozart`s, "Tu Virginum", an extract from " La Traviata" by Verdi, and Debussy`s "Nuit d`Etoiles".

"Allegro" from the first Cello Sonata of Shostakovich was a very difficult piece to choose and unfortunately the cellist was not quite up to the demands of the rhythmic drive of the music which needed more attack, stronger tone and better control of the intonation. Elgar`s "Romance for Bassoon" written in 1910 was well played with good tone and phrasing and we would perhaps have liked more from this rather neglected instrument. A very good performance of the slow movement from the clarinet concerto by Kramar-Krommer showed excellent breath control, good tone and dynamic drive resulting in well deserved applause for this rendition. Of the two solo pianists who performed, the first chose to play the Brahms "Andante teneramente" from Six "Klavierstucke" Op.118. A rather harsh tone rather spoilt this beautiful piece and more subtle pedal control would have helped to improve this performance. The second pianist, and the last student to perform, produced a first class rendering of two "Impromptus" from D. 980, "Andante" and "Allegro" by Schubert. A good singing tone in the first of these and a very well controlled thrilling pace in the second with clear and accurate articulation, ensured an enthusiastic response from the audience and brought to an end the first of this year`s very talented young musicians from the University of Surrey.