Reviews of concerts, 2004-5

Concert on 15 February 2005: The Michael Chapple Trumpet Ensemble

The following review was submitted to the local press


The Michael Chapple Trumpet Ensemble, formed five years ago, gave their first concert at Farnham United Reformed Church as part of the "Music at Lunchtime" series. Their fifth anniversary concert, given in the church on 15 February, started with a dramatic Australian Fanfare by David Stanhope. There were three trumpet choirs: four players stood each side of the central area of the church and five players performed from the rear gallery.

One of the most popular pieces in the trumpet repertoire is Jeremiah Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary (or the Prince of Denmark's March) and it was given a sparkling performance by soloists Tim Bliss and Marc Howarth, accompanied by the remainder of the ensemble. Michael Chapple could not resist the temptation of adding a descant on the piccolo trumpet at the end.

For a change a soft piece followed: the same two soloists played in the Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes.

Those two items were both arranged by the ingenious and talented David Marlatt, and the next was one of his compositions. This may well have been a first performance: unfortunately Mr Marlatt does not keep a record of the people who receive his music, so we do not know. "Festival of Lights" is bouncy, rhythmical piece which suits the Ensemble very well.

"Here's that rainy day", by Jim Van Heusen is jazz-inspired (at least there was unmistakable jazz chording), and the excellent soloist was Trevor Walker, who played jazz trumpet beautifully in this all-too-short piece. The arrangement was by another friend of the Ensemble, James Olcott.

The final two items on the programme were The Prelude and Fugue for Trumpet Choir by Eric Ewazen and To God Be The Glory, by William Doane (arranged by Kenneth Kunda). But an encore followed: The Rakes of Mallow, from the Irish Suite by Leroy Anderson. Altogether a fitting celebration of five years of music making by this talented ensemble.

The next concert the Ensemble will be giving is in Redhill, to raise money for Tsunami Relief, when they will play alongside members of Surrey Brass and some of the Surrey County Arts ensembles.

John Mansfield

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Concert on 1 February 2005: Music Students from Frensham Heights School

The following review was submitted to the local press


Music students from Frensham Heights usually visit Farnham United Reformed Church at this time of year to give a lunchtime concert as part of the monthly "Music at Lunchtime" series, and their visit is always eagerly awaited. The concert they gave on Tuesday 1 February was another outstanding one, with a wide range of instruments being presented.

It was only a week after Burns' Night, but still startling to have Scots pipes as the first item: "Scotland, the Brave" was played from the church gallery by Alan Gibbs. Alan is in year 11, and he was followed by a colleague in year 10, Simon Jarvis, who gave a fluent account of an air by Telemann on the trumpet.

Giselle Doulton is in year 8 but already a fine oboist. She gave a lively performance of the spirited Italian Dance by Madeleine Dring, a most enjoyable piece. So was the Fantaisie-Impromptu by Chopin, as played by Duane Nasis, Duane is in year 12, studying for his AS levels, and gave a brilliant performance of this virtuoso piece.

Kenny Tanner (year 10) plays the guitar, and his piece was "Shadow of the Moon", written by his teacher, Vincent Lindsay Clark - an enjoyable performance, although it seemed to present a few problems in performance. There was another teacher-written piece, "Firefly", by Anne Hughes Chamberlain and played on the harp by her pupil Be Loadsby, who demonstrated what an attractive, melodious piece it was. That was followed by Myles Wakelin-Harkett (year 8) playing a Canzonetta for Clarinet by Gabriel Pierné. Myles' playing was very fluent and a joy to listen to.

A vocal ensemble made up of Year 8 students sang three pieces: "Lift thine eyes", from Mendelssohn's oratorio "Elijah" and two traditional Scottish cradle songs, An Eriskay Love Lilt and "Coulters Candy", all professionally and delightfully sung, and a credit to Frensham Height's Director of Music, Edwin Rolles.

Edwin rightly paid tribute to the very accomplished pianist, Jean Tombs, who accompanied all the instrumental items (except the harp and the bagpipes), and merits all our appreciation.

The final item was Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro, played with great authority on the violin by a year 13 student, Tiffany Loadsby. Her performance combined great virtuosity with an equal amount of tenderness, and was a fitting end to a stunning concert.

John Mansfield
3 February 2005

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Concert on 7 December 2004: Caroline and Robert Gale, Jill Lewis and Jo May

The following review was submitted to the local press

Christmas Miscellany at United Reformed Church

The unforgettable Michael Flanders and Donald Swan described their show "At the Drop of a Hat" as a "farrago", which means a confused group, or hotchpotch - a rather unkind description of a delightful entertainment.

Caroline and Robert Gale, Jill Lewis and Jo May put on their own miscellany at Farnham United Reformed Church at lunchtime on Tuesday 7 December (part of the regular Music at Lunchtime Series held at the church). That is to say that there was no set theme: the items ranged from the World Peace Canon "Dona nobis pacem", through Mendelssohn's duet "O would that my love" and "Matchmaker", from "Fiddler on the Roof" to Irving Berlin's "We're a couple of Swells", acted by Jill and Jo. They ended with a selection of Christmas songs. The most delightful song to this listener's ears was a Mexican lullaby arranged by Michael Neaum. The accompaniment was shared between Caroline and Robert.

The audience enjoyed the concert and we hope that we may have the pleasure of hearing them again some time.

The picture shows (left to right) Robert Gale, Jo May, Jill Lewis and Caroline Gale
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Concert on 12 October 2004: Sylvia Harper, oboe and cor anglais and Martin Vishnick: guitar

The following review was submitted to the local press

A guitar/ oboe or cor anglais duo seems at first sight an unlikely combination but Sylvia Harper (oboe and cor anglais) and Martin Vishnick (guitar) are now an established duo with many appearances this year in the home counties, and their international concert career will start shortly in Italy. The duos' wide repertoire includes classical, from Baroque to modern, jazz and popular styles.

Their concert at Farnham United Reformed Church on Tuesday 12 October, as part of the regular Music at Lunchtime series, was a good example, containing music ranging from Bach to the Beatles.

The event was partly in aid of Reachout, a project which matches care leavers with suitable mentors to help them on their journey towards full independence. It is jointly funded by the Prince's Trust and Hampshire County Council. It is hoped to set up an arts fund to enable young people in care to have access to creative and cultural opportunities. A short presentation about Reachout was given by Taryn Lawrence, the Mentoring Co-ordinator.

The first item was the well-known Flower Duet from Delibes' opera Lakmé, followed by three Baroque pieces-it was good to hear "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" played on the oboe (as it should be) for a change. "The arrival of the Queen of Sheba", one of the more ambitious arrangements, had honours shared between the two instruments in a most ingenious way. The seductive tone of the cor anglais was very telling in the first of Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from the opera "Prince Igor".

Martin then played a solo: the Villa Lobos Choros No. 1, an original work for guitar solo, which brings in street songs from Rio de Janeiro. The cor anglais was again very seductive in Arthur Hamilton's "Cry me a river", which was followed by Richard Rogers' "The Lady is a tramp", a Beatles medley, and, to end, an excerpt from Rossini's "William Tell" overture. But the piece that was most evocative for this reviewer was the adagio from Rodrigo's guitar concerto, a dreamy duet for cor anglais and guitar that evokes all the sights and sounds of Spain. Wonderful!

The picture shows Sylvia Harper, Martin Vishnick and Taryn Lawrence (Mentoring Co-ordinator) 
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This page was updated on 2 October 2005