With exam season now very much underway, the Headmaster’s Recital on Sunday was the final major concert of the academic year, and it could not have been a more fitting climax: a full Thornely Studio was the setting for a diverse programme of excellent solo and chamber performances.

For some of our musicians, this was the final time that they were to grace the Sedbergh stage – as pupils, at least – and no fewer than a dozen of our leavers ensured that their swan song was memorable.

One of these, Toby Randall-Paley, opened the concert with conviction as he played a rhapsody for piano by Brahms, before his fellow U6 musician Marianne Yacoub performed the first movement of Beethoven’s ‘Spring Sonata’ with departing violinist Florian Wittstock (Y11).

These two performances really set the bar for the afternoon, and they were followed by a host of our younger musicians in a nod to the next generation. Eden McGuire (Y9), Lucy Preston (Y10) both sang with poise and technique beyond their years, whilst Harry Bolton (Y11) and Sarah Long (Y10) proved themselves to be tremendously sensitive brass players. The Chamber Choir sang the incredibly challenging yet magical ‘Sleep’ by Eric Whitacre, much to the appreciation of the audience.

Indeed much of the repertoire was well beyond that which one would expect a school pupil to be playing, and this was no less evident than in violinist Alex Barker’s stunning playing of Sarasate’s notoriously difficult ‘Caprice Basque’ and John Chen’s mastering of Chopin’s ‘Black Key Exercise.

This item brought the concert to the close, shortly after the audience had enjoyed a mesmerising piece on marimba by John’s compatriot – Harry Chan.

The audience came to the concert well aware that our departing Y13 musicians were outstanding talents at the top of their game, having entertained us in various settings for several years. Their efforts were met with particular affection on Sunday.

Reassuringly, though, we were treated to fine performances by younger musicians and the fact that several younger Music scholars were not even performing meant that there was tremendous excitement for the future.

The full programme was as follows:

Toby Randall-Paley
Rhapsody No. 2 in G Minor Brahms

Marianne Yacoub & Florian Wittstock
Spring Sonata Mvt I Beethoven

Eden McGuire
Quando m’en vo Puccini

Imogen Duncalf
Polonaise Bach

Lucy Preston
Voi che sapete Mozart

Harry Bolton
Horn Concerto No. 4, Mvt II Mozart

James Horan & Tom Robinson
Spiegel im Spiegel Arvo Pärt

Mollie Richmond
La Pastorella delle Alpe Rossini

Candice Dobson
Piano Sonata in G Minor Mvt I Mozart

Sarah Long
Rusalka’s Song to the Moon Shepherd

Hannah Page
Don’t explain Holiday

Alex Porter
Concerto in F Minor, Mvt III Weber

Alex Barker
Caprice Basque Sarasate

Chamber Choir
Sleep Whitacre

Harry Chan
4 Rotation Pour Marimba Sammut

Piano Quartet                                  
Mvt III – Andante Cantabile Schumann

John Chen
Etude, op10 no5, “Black key exercise” Chopin


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