Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Last Night brought everyone together

HENLEY joined many other communities across the UK on Saturday evening at the Last Night of

HENLEY joined many other communities across the UK on Saturday evening at the Last Night of the BBC Proms — with a live broadcast from London’s Royal Albert Hall.

In the tradition of the popular Proms in the Park, and with the aid of Henley Theatre Services, a special atmosphere was created with lighting, bunting and Union flags.

But instead of outside in the rather inclement autumnal weather, the event took place in the shelter of Christ Church.

The evening was organised by the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge in aid of two local charities — the Nomad youth and community project and the Chiltern Centre for disabled children.

Compere Stefan Gawrysiak, the president of the Rotary Club welcomed the Henley prommers and Henley Mayor Julian Brookes.

The first half of the concert included performances by two young musicians attending Henley Music School and a recital by pianist Anita D’Attellis.

Cellist Mae Reineke began the evening with the Brahms Sonata Movement. Originally written for violin and piano, this piece established a violin theme which recurred through the evening.

Samuel Lloyd on trombone entertained with Greenwood’s The Acrobat, the audience enjoying his amusing glissandi.

In a varied programme of classical and romantic repertoire, which she introduced herself, pianist Anita D’Attellis immediately set the scene for what proved a thoroughly engaging performance.

Anita has been wooing audiences in the area since she settled in Henley a few years ago. Her stage presence draws the audience in, creating her own drama with a musicality and a virtuosity that is effortlessly stylish.

We heard two works by J S Bach arranged for piano from the original for violin and piano, Bourree from Partita No1 (arranged by Saint-Saëns) and the technically demanding Chaconne from Partita No2 (arranged by Busoni).

Here D’Attellis displayed her true versatility with silken smooth soft passages following bold rhythmic sections getting the very best out of the grand piano hired in specially for this recital.

The programme included the beautiful Beethoven Sonata in C# Minor ‘Moonlight’ and a particularly sensitive interpretation of Chopin’s Nocturne in Db, where every note was cherished.

Anita D’Attellis enjoys a busy and varied career, performing across Southern England as soloist, duo partner and accompanist to numerous singers, instrumentalists and choirs.

The usual pomp and circumstance of the Last Night followed as we were transported live to the Royal Albert Hall via the big screen.

It really is an uplifting spectacle, and fun to experience the warm feeling of getting together — rather than sitting at home watching our televisions — to get out and sing Jerusalem at the top of your voice with friends and the community.

Thank you Henley Bridge Rotary Club for getting this together. May you build on this in future years.

Review: Mandy Beard

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