Friday March 8th saw Millfield School’s Music Department recognise the compositional achievements of women in music, with a richly varied concert full of solo and ensemble items. This included recorded music as well as live performances, and an interview with Cecilia McDowell – one of the country’s most notable composers.
The first half of our wonderful concert began with contrasting works for voice and piano: Business Girls by Madeleine Dring and Mignonne by Cécile Chaminade performed admirably by Kitty Chapple and Maddie Calvesbert-Sharp respectively. A superbly controlled performance of Summer Evening at Bryanstone by Alma Goatley came next, performed by clarinettist Jevon Hughes. The fourth performer to our stage was vocalist Imogen Scott-Carter, who provided a light and beautiful interpretation of Pauline Viardot’s Les Deux roses. Following this was a recording of Bath Camerata, who our own Mrs Kirsty Barry performs with, performing Cecilia McDowell’s Standing as I Do. Millfield School’s Johnson Hall was the venue for this recent recording. Next up was flautist Tosca Mendes, performing a colourful rendition of A Russian Encounter also by Celilia McDowell. Closing the first half of our concert were three ensemble items: the first of which was First Spring a work written for Wind Trio by Jane Finch, Millfield School’s oboe teacher, brought to life by Emily Bradshaw (clarinet), Maddie Calvesbert-Sharp (flute) and Jo Maddock (oboe); the second was Lili Boulanger’s Les Sirènes. This piece is a set work for AS music and was performed sublimely by soprano soloist and vocal teacher Ms Eloise Routledge, pupils from the AS music class and junior choir, and Mr Jon Boyle piano . It was directed by Mrs Kirsty Barry; and the final item was a percussion duet A Little Prayer by Evelyn Glennie performed by Rosa Launder and Mr Jeremy Little.
The second half had an energetic start with our Percussion ensemble performing Kandis Taylor’s No Me Digas! (Don’t Tell Me!). After this explosive start, three items Merch Megan arranged by Olivia Dussek, Beltan Dance by Martinz and Baroque Flamenco by Deborah Henson-Conant for solo harp, solo harp and harp ensemble respectively. Another recording followed these performances, and it was the critically acclaimed vocal ensemble Tenebrae performing Nunc Dimitis by our own Upper Sixth pupil, Isabelle Barber. Next up was a lively performance by Felix Sissins-Roffey (oboe) of Scherzo Rondoso by Diana Keech. Returning to the world of vocal music, Lower Sixth pupil Tabitha Veitch treated us to a stirring performance of Rebecca Clarice’sShy One. Maria Theresia von Paradis’s Sicilenne was next to be performed, in sensitive style, by clarinettist Emily Bradshaw and accompanist Juliet Grogan Poulsen. Our penultimate performer was Upper Sixth vocalist Florence Lunnon, who treated us to two works Under the Greenwood Tree and Take O Take Those Lips Away by Madeleine Dring. To round-off an evening of music uniquely by female composers was the Millfield Four performing Carole King’s well-known and much-loved You’ve Got a Friend.