Review: Cheltenham Ladies' College Spring Concert, Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham
Cheltenham Ladies' College Spring Concert, Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham
A curtain-raiser to Rossini's opera The Barber Of Seville heralded a curtain closure for the Sixth Form students of the Ladies' College. This was their final chance to participate as soloists with the orchestra in a major concert before beginning their examination preparation.
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Confident chords announced Rossini's overture which although lacking lightness and pace occasionally was a dramatic rendition. Dominic Hawley, Director of Music conducted with clear directions indicating section and solo entries.
Contrastingly Bach's Concerto In D Minor For Violin And Oboe was played with verve and sophistication. Robust and brisk ensemble playing captured the Baroque mood and supported proficient soloists Jennifer Jobling (violin) and Rowan Douglas (oboe) under Sarah Harper's baton.
In Glazunov's tranquil and pastoral Idyll For Horn And String Quartet the horn and strings blended well. Occasionally the strings were a little "foggy" rather than serene but they created an unruffled scene fading to a tender conclusion.
Two burgeoning singers stunned with their mature performance. Katrina Gane's accomplished presentation of Handel's Angels Ever Bright And Fair included superb diction, dynamics and projection in perfect dulcet tones.
Ophelia Reid, singing in Russian, chose two songs from Shostakovich's From Jewish Folk Poetry - Song Of The Young Girl and Lullaby. Her sonorous, warm contralto tones confidently pitched the modal intervals, displayed admirable breath control, contrasted both tempos and captured both song moods with intensity.
Responding successfully to Dominic Hawley's conducting the orchestra achieved a stormy, brooding atmosphere in the long introduction to Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto In C Minor. Three talented soloists played a movement each. With not a hair's breadth separating their technical skills in the rippling scale and arpeggio passages they each contributed in style. Jasmine Hopkins' firm but not heavy touch triumphed in the first movement cadenza. June Tong created a near-religious pathos in the evocative hymn-like opening of the Largo whilst it was left to Jane Lau's assured performance and crystalline ornamentation to unite with the orchestra and hurtle pell-mell through the final short Presto.
A showstopper indeed! Taking a "triple" bow the pianists joined with the orchestra and other soloists, all proving meritorious recipients of the prolonged applause and cheers.