“City Lights”—Summer 2004

This short review of a term's music was published in the Summer of 2004.

A photograph from the Beyond Tonality Concert

CLS has traditionally never had a Leavers” Concert. This year, however,ably organised by Joshua Beagelman, sixteen talented Senior Sixth-Formers came together to perform an impressive range of pieces: from the modern, Dominic Yue's performance of Ginastera's “3rd Argentinian Dance”), to the Baroque, (Andrew Parkinson's playing of the Albinoni Obeo Concerto, or Benjamin Blausten's rendition of Bach's 3rd Cello Suite on the viola). Standards were exceptionally high, every piece being played to Grade 8 standard or above, and it was particularly pleasurable to hear boys whose chosen instruments generally rule them out from most orchestral work, playing alongside music department “regulars'.

Putting on “Beyond Tonality”, a concert entirely made up of modern music, had been an ambition of mine for a long time at school. Thankfully, it turned out to be a success with the surprisingly large audience being “treated” to music from all the major schools of 20th Century composition: from Steve Reich's “Pendulum Music”, (in which a number of microphones are swung over loudspeakers to produce an ever-changing but regular pattern of feed-back pulses), to more traditional works, such as Ysaye's 2nd Violin Sonata, played by Joshua Eisenthal, (consisting of rearranged fragments of Bach), or Britten's “6 Metamorphoses After Ovid” played by Howard Amos. Feeling these were a little too traditional, I dug out my short-wave radio and slide-whistles to play Stockhausen's “Spiral” and used wooden blocks, a camera, “pressuresensitive tape” and percussion beaters for Brecht's “5 Piano Pieces”, before all the performers joined together for a performance of Cage's riotous “Variations IV”.

Another tradition, (of playing very few concertos in any one concert), was broken in the school's Summer Concert, as three boys took up the daunting challenge of playing technically demanding work, accompanied by a full orchestra in front of a large audience. Edward Ballard sung with gravitas and pathos, tackling the solemn Aria, “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein”, from Bach's Matthew Passion - a truly memorable performance. Benjamin Cartlidge then demonstrated his outstanding command of tone, rubato and expression with a beautiful performance of Sibalius' “The Swan of Tuenelo”, producing a vivid image of the Swan of the Underworld. Finally, Daniel Chandler performed the complete Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor. It was a real pleasure to see a performer in such command of his instrument, able to bring out both the virtuosic and lyrical sides of the piece. On behalf of all those mentioned above and of all those leavers who have been involved in school music, I would like to thank the music teachers who have taught, conducted and even tutored us over the years: these concerts could not have occurred without their tireless dedication to their subject.