Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Hello, that sounds rather like Adele...

PUTTING on a classical concert from scratch in just two days with a group of 11-

PUTTING on a classical concert from scratch in just two days with a group of 11- to 19-year-olds is no mean feat.

And when you learn that half the children have only just arrived from Leichlingen in Germany, it becomes even more impressive.

However, this is the 19th year that this music exchange between the two towns has taken place, and as always the children rose to the challenge to produce an inspirational performance.

This year Paul Cox, music director of Reading Youth Orchestra and Henley Music Centre, led the project. The German participants were all from the Musikschule der Stadt Leichlingen, directed by Andreas Genschel. The Mayor, Lorraine Hillier was in attendance.

The concert began with a neat and musical rendition of an arrangement of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, followed by an ensemble version of the first movement of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, with three players on each of the solo parts.

The tempo for this was challenging and it was to their credit that they managed it so well.

An even greater test was the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No 8. But again the orchestra proved that they could cope with the technical demands of the piece to produce some good ensemble playing and some powerful and dramatic moments.

The real highlight for both musicians and audience was a performance of the Skyfall theme from the Bond film of that name. What was special about this, apart from its coinciding with the launch of Spectre, is that it was adapted and scored specifically for the instrumentation available by Melanie Le Breuilly, who works with Paul Cox — a highly successful arrangement that clearly inspired the players.

Afterwards there was a real buzz as all the participants and audience joined together for a celebration of the success of the weekend, and from the excited chatter it was hard to believe the young people had only known one another for two days.

Next year the exchange will be held in Leichlingen, and is open to instrumentalists aged 11 to 20. There will also be a jazz workshop.

Any parents of young players who might be interested in taking part should email Anna Del Nevo at anna.delnevo@lineone.net

Review: Trevor Howell and Anna Del Nevo

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