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Sunday 5 Feb 2017

3:00 pm • Retiring collection

University of Surrey Showcase Concert

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

Chamber music with piano

Piano keyboard
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This season`s University of Surrey`s "Showcase Concert" on Sunday 5th February, followed very closely the previous recorder recital.

Among the items we should have heard, was a Soprano, who unfortunately had been taken ill, and consequently the programme was somewhat foreshortened.

However, the first item was another singer- a bass/baritone performing an extract "For the mountains shall depart" from Mendelssohn`s "Elijah" written in 1846. Sadly he was very nervous but continued through Faure`s "Lydia" until the final song "It was a lover and his lass"by Gerald Finzi. Here, fortunately he recovered his composure and showed us what he could do with music possibly more suited to his temperament.

Unusually, the programme featured four pianists in addition to Dr.Maureen Galea who did the necessary accompanying. The first of these keyboard exponents played the well known A minor Mozart Sonata K310/300b, and "Presto" from Six Moment Musicaux by Rachmaninoff. This latter was played with the necessary pace and attack, but the Mozart needed a more discreet use of the sustaining pedal and perhaps a little more sensitivity in the Andante.

Before the interval, Chopin`s much loved "Fantaisie Impromptu" was the choice of the second pianist. Played with an admirable turn of speed, the enjoyment of this piece was unfortunately spoiled by a pedestrian and unimaginative rendering of the slow section, which is surely amongst Chopin`s most romantic melodies.

The third pianist and probably the most able and musical, played The C minor prelude Op, 28 by Chopin; a Brahm`s Intermezzo; a charming piece by John Ireland entitled "April", and the C Minor Sonata K115 by Scarlatti. It was soon apparent that this student`s technique displayed a pleasing sympathetic touch and the John Ireland was particularly enjoyable. However, Scarlatti Sonatas are usually played with very little, if any, pedal, whereas this one, strangely, received a lot, and sounded more like Beethoven ! Unfortunately it is the lot of the pianist to play whatever is provided, despite possible incompatibility with the instrument, and is sometimes difficult to do justice to one`s abilities.

Partnered by Maureen Galea, we heard a fine performance of "Prelude et Saltarelle" by Robert Planell from a young lady saxophonist. Not often heard, this fine French composition dates from 1957 and starts quietly and melodiously but soon soars aloft before returning as it began before a difficult and elaborate cadenza ushers in an exciting finale in 6/8 time. This was played extremely well with great vivacity, nice phrasing, and a fine full but mellifluous tone throughout.

Finishing the concert, a completely untrained Barber Shop Quartet of young males brought the house down with their rendering of "Is it True What They Say About Dixie"---- "How Could I Ever Know"---- and "Hello Mary Lou". Completely different but nevertheless brilliantly inspired these four students provided an enthralling end to another great occasion.