Twelve talented young instrumentalists, two from each of the older Colleges, performed in the Old Refectory of the University Union.
There were five pianists. Sancta students, Elena Turunen and Cassie Parke played a Schubert impromptu and a movement from a Haydn sonata, while Dennis Cheung from St Paul’s performed Chopin’s first scherzo. The other two pianists chose less familiar repertoire: Jol Choct from Wesley played an arrangement from the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ ballet music as if it were a Tchaikovsky concerto, while Andrew’s man Titus Grenyer recreated Billy Mayerl’s ‘Marigold’ rag in the spirit of the composer’s own brilliant recording.
Jacob Jaska from St John’s played Peter Sculthorpe’s moving threnody for cello, and Dennis van Royen from St Paul’s dexterously accomplished all the astonishing ways of extracting musical noises from a classical guitar demanded by the Argentinian Alberto Ginastera’s sonata of 1976. There were two saxophonists, Anthony Rositano of St Andrew’s, who played Duke Ellington’s ‘Take a Train’ and Charlotte Power of Wesley, who was highly commended for her rendition of an improvisation by the contemporary Japanese composer Ryo Noda, adapting the shakuhachi to the saxophone.
The adjudicators, the pianist Stephanie McCallum, the guitarist Vladimir Gorbach and the musicologist Alex Chilvers, gave the third prize to Clare Fox from Women’s for her sinuous legato in the ‘Solo de Concours’ which Henri Rabaud wrote in 1901 as a competition piece for the Paris Conservatoire. Claire was ably accompanied on the piano by Anthony Chen, formerly so prominent in St Andrew’s music.
Second place went to the St John’s harpist. Will Nichols performed a concert study called ‘Au Matin’ by Marcel Tournier, who composed it in 1913.
Annabelle Traves from Women’s took a richly deserved first place for her stunning performance of Sarasate’s old spectacular, ‘Zigeunerweisen’. These gypsy airs have been endlessly popular among violin virtuosos ever since 1878. ‘Zigeunerweisen’ is an ideal vehicle for Palladian success. Annabelle did full justice to its changing moods, ending in the famous, exuberant csardas.
- Professor Ian Jack
Photos courtesy of Minami Takahashi