Student concert at The Purcell School of Music****

This concert by students of the Purcell School of Music, sponsored by Classic Concerts Trust, introduced the audience to young musicians who may be international stars in ten years' time. Fourteen students performed between them 15 works - or parts of works, because, for example, of the opening work, Borodin's String Quartet No.2, only the first movement was played. As well as the string quartet and a piano trio, the programme included solo pianists and solos for the bassoon, violin, flute and voice.

The youngest student was Cherry Ge, from Singapore, who played, from memory, a Valse by Chopin(his opus 64 no.2) and Schubert's Impromptu in E flat, D.899. Her hands are still small but her skill at the age of ten is remarkable. She was followed by Fiona Russell, who played Valsa for unaccompanied bassoon by Mignone, and then Sarabande et Cortege by Dutilleux, with piano accompaniment (as throughout the evening) by Daniel King-Smith of the School staff. She recovered well from initial nerves and displayed good attack and phrasing.

The second piano soloist was Sasha Gracheva, who played a piece from Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus. Her control of the slow rhythm, the sustained chords with ornamentation and her pedalling showed real musicianship.

A complete contrast in style was Beatrice Marshall, soprano, with a concert aria by Mozart, Ridente la Calma, K. 152, Philomel by Harrison and a song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, 'I cannot tell what this love may be'. She started at the School as a harpist, and is evidently developing into a skilful musician.

The School sensibly kept the two best items until the end. Joshua Hadley played Shadow of the Seasons: III - Autumn, composed by himself, and Debussy's Etude Pour les Octaves. As a solo pianist he was at ease with contrasts of dynamics and already shows vigour and confidence.

Finally came the first movement of Smetana's Piano Trio in G minor, played by Christa-Maria Stangorra (violin), Margarita Balanas ('cello) and Susana Gomez-Vazquez (piano). All three distinguished themselves and achieved excellent ensemble.

Any concert hall might be confident about the competence of these young people, and no doubt that is where we shall hear them in due course.

Graham Mordue

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