Music (1968-69)


By J. Haselock.

A Survey. J. Haselock.

The past year of school music has more than lived up to the excellent reputation jealously maintained at St. Nicholas. Not content, however, with merely continuing in a solid tradition of first dass orchestral and choral concerts, the school has presented its faithful audiences with colourful and exciting innovations. Under the inspired and enthusiastic direction of Mr. Smith, new music by contemporary composers such as Arnold, Rawsthorne, Jacob and Le Fleming has found its way into the concert programme. Continued co-operation with St. Mary's has provided not only a much needed touch of glamour to the orchestra but also a greater number of instru- mentalists making more adventurous musical items possible.

An interesting and entertaining example of this was the performance by the orchestra and a group of members of staff, of Haydn's "Toy Symphony". The staff tackled the "extra-ordinarily taxing" solo parts of this work with a mixture of great gusto and deep concentration, the beads of perspiration running freely from beneath their comic hats.

Orchestral music from Bach to Walton has been performed by the joint orchestra augmented at the last concert by dedicated friends of the school. We are very grateful to these musicians who stepped in to help the numerically weak sections of the orchestra, refusing to take any credit for the splendid performance they helped us to give. The school continues to produce fine soloists, and concerto and chamber evenings were designed to show forth their talents to our appreciative audiences. Particularly worthy of mention was lan Hooker, an ex-pupil of the school, whose piano recital early in July inaugurated the fund for the proposed school music building,

Following the performance last year of Britten's "Golden Vanity" and Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors", an amalgamation of music and drama was arranged this year, with Sullivan's "Cox and Box" performed as the sparkling second half to a concert.

Music contributed much to the success of this year's school play. "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme". The summer term concluded with a genuine Old Time Music Hall in aid of charity. During the year the school choir, joining forces with the St. Mary's-St. Nicholas Choral Society, gave a moving performance of the Fauré Requiem as well as Britten's colourful setting of the 150th Psalm and Tippett's arrangement of well-known negre spirituals. Choral concerts in local churches have continued, the joint choirs performing with the Madrigal Group at this year's Pinner Festival and at St Edmunds in Northwood Hills. Members of the chair were even seen as far away as St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, taking part in the Malcolm Sargent Memorial Carol Services.

The school has played its part in the local competitive Music Festival in orchestral, choral and solo classes, winning the orchestral class for the third year in succession.


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