‘Outstanding young chorus the highlight of concert’

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Review by David Fisher,

Central Composers’ Alliance

An ambitious concert in Stowe School Chapel last Sunday featured Buckingham Concerto No. 5 by Buckingham-based composer Paul Harris.

An approachable and well-crafted work, it was performed by talented pianists Hannah Dixon and Clarissa Llanaj playing four hands on one piano.

Perfectly matched in skills, they captured the very essence of this charming concerto.

Ben Andrew, Stowe’s head of keyboard, followed this with a technically accomplished performance of Rachmaninov’s famous Piano Concerto No. 2 on the school’s splendid new Steinway grand piano.

Accompanying the concertos was the Horsham Symphony Orchestra under their conductor Stephen Dummer.

This most able of orchestras really demonstrated its mettle in Beethoven’s Choral Symphony in the second half.

Quite exceptional were the superb individual performances by the lead horn, the principal bassoon, piccolo player and timpanist.

The finely balanced vocal soloists added to the overall enjoyment

But the highlight proved to be the outstanding young chorus who, under the skilled training of Simon Dearsley, produced a fresh and clear yet powerful sound that rode triumphantly over the volume of the orchestra .

No mean feat in such an exhausting work.

This concert should remain in the memories of those young musicians for a lifetime.