From Phil Purvis, Director of Music:
It is not very often that you go to a concert and feel its physical and emotional impact. But that is what happened to students and staff at d’Overbroeck’s who last week had front-row seats for a spellbinding performance of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. The floor of Oxford’s historic Hollywell Music Room vibrated with each entry of the fourth movement’s fiery fugue and its ‘100-mph finish’.
The work, which formed a visceral finale to a concert investigating composer’s ‘In Memoriam’, was part of Oxford Chamber Music Festival’s 2016 series ‘CODA: LAST WORKS.’ d’Overbroeck’s is proud to sponsor the 2016 festival, described in the national press as an event which is irrepressibly ‘different and distinctive, a closely guarded secret with exhilarating atmosphere and artistry’. Spearheaded by violinist par excellence, Priya Mitchell, the festival is now in its fifteenth year and it shows no sign of being effected by the emphasis on age which characterises this season. As a result of the school’s partnership with the festival upwards of thirty students have attended three concerts in just two days. We have been moved by Beethoven’s ‘last musical thought’, experienced Schumann’s angst in the Ghost Variations and been moved by the almost unbearable emotional turmoil of Schnittke’s Piano Quintet, to mention only three pieces.
It has been fantastic to expose our students from Year 7 to A level to such an eclectic collection of music played by musicians of world renown. One quote sums up the experience perfectly: on leaving the concert hall, a young student was heard to say ‘I never knew instruments could do that!’ Long may responses such as this and the partnership between the music festival and d’Overbroeck’s continue!
Joseph in Year 8 was among those who attended:
After a short trip to the concert hall, everyone sat down eagerly awaiting the concert, ‘Last Musical Thoughts’. After a short wait, three performers came onstage, and after the safety announcement, began a piece by Fauré. It had a piano, a clarinet, and a double bass, which all combined to give an incredibly fluid sound. The clarinet and double bass sounded, surprisingly, very similar when played together. Then came the Shostakovich, and an unassuming woman walked onstage. Suddenly the violin came into life, and it burst into song! The bow flew over the strings at an incredible pace, creating a chaotic, but ordered, sound. The piece was unbelievably fast, but she made no mistakes! When the concert finished, everyone came out of a musical trance, and we all prepared to leave.