The Warden's Music
Despite the earlier and earlier public exams, it was great to see so many boys taking part in the Music Department's main Summer Term event - Warden's Music. We even provided a real summer evening. The doors of the Silk Hall remained open throughout the rehearsal and concert, which meant the spilling out of an eclectic mix of music and ensembles on to the 1st XI pitch: the essence of a Radley summer!
The College Pipers opened the concert, followed by the Brass Ensemble Fanfare (Copland) and the Percussion Ensemble, so even late-comers some way from the hall could hear the first three items.
A quartet of violins followed, playing Silesian Melodies by Lutoslawski; these were a discovery for most in the audience, myself included. It's a short collection of unusual but gentle arrangements of folk melodies in a typically quirky style. It was beautifully played by a group of four younger violinists.
The Radley Clerkes, the College's premier acapella vocal group, delighted the audience with an upbeat and humorous arrangement of Fernando's Hideaway, complete with vocal imitations of violins, guitars, and other unidentifiable effects, led with panache by Adam Hargreaves.
George Butterworth is all over College at the moment, as we commemorate and celebrate the short life and works of this important English 20th century composer, who was sadly killed at a young age 100 years ago in the trenches in France. He taught at Radley, and therefore we feel an important link with him. The orchestra played English Idyll No. 2, and one hopes that this did indeed spill out onto the Radley campus and beyond, as it paints a picture of the English country landscape from the early part of the 20th century, a landscape that has sadly now mostly disappeared. This short work is based on English folk song, but so wonderfully orchestrated and arranged, demanding much from the musicians in terms of colour, balance and phrasing, with many tricky solos from around the orchestra. This was followed by the Concert Band also playing Butterworth: this time an arrangement of his orchestral work ‘The Banks of Green Willow’.
The Radley Voices then performed ‘Bring him Home’ from Les Miserables and ‘Can you Feel the Love Tonight’ by Elton John, directed by the ever-ebullient and smiling Emma Taylor. ‘Warden's Blues’ (especially written for Warden's Music by Richie Barrett) followed, with stylish electric guitar solos accompanied by rock solid drum and bass. The Big Band closed the concert with a Star Wars Medley, requiring many solos from within the group.
The evening concluded with The Warden inviting members of the audience to join him for supper in the Foyer.