“Wonderful variety, expert musicianship”

“Wonderful variety, expert musicianship”

QE’s young composers demonstrated both their creativity and their virtuosity in a special concert showcasing their work.

The Chamber, Choral and Composition Concert featured pupils’ own compositions for their GCSE and A-level courses, which accounted for ten of the 16 pieces in the programme.

The breadth of style and genre was huge, from, for example, sixth-former Indrajit Datta’s opening piece, Sonata for Live Piano and Electronics, which introduced technology in a way not seen at QE before, to A Slave-Driven Fishing Trawler, by Ryuki Watanabe, of Year 11, who combined influences from heavy rock and sea shanties.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Some of the concepts may perhaps sound  a little unusual, but there was wonderful variety, and what was striking was that the pieces were crafted with accomplishment, demonstrating real musical understanding and allowing the boys to playfully inject their personalities.

“Furthermore, it is remarkable not only that students can compose such inspiring, evocative and professional-sounding pieces, but that other boys (often in different year groups) have the skill to perform them so expertly. To invest time and care in learning and performing another student’s composition demonstrates the supportive culture that exists within QE’s musical community: the mutual respect was evident.”

The evening featured:

  • Final-year student Isher Jagdev’s Chardikala – a word which in Sikhism denotes a state of eternal optimism. This piece was inspired by the eternal hope of the warrior in the face of battle;
  • Revenge is a Virtue, by Tharun Dhamodharan, of Year 13, which continued the battle theme and featured a fast-moving narrative involving Leonardo di Caprio and Darth Vader in a lively action caper;
  • A Jazzy Slapstick Comedy, by Aarav Agarwal, of Year 11, which evoked the era of the silent movie;
  • Themes and Variations in B-Flat Major written for violin by Year 11’s Leo Sellis – one of a number of pieces that the boys wrote for instruments they do not themselves play.

There were also contributions from some of the younger ensembles taking part in this year’s Pro Corda competition, as well as a pair of well-known songs from the Barbershop and, as a rousing finale, Zadok the Priest, Handel’s coronation anthem played last year at the crowning of King Charles.

“Every composition performed was very strong, and many staggeringly so, but a special mention for [Year 12 pupil] Harrison Lee’s Magnificat, which was performed by a full orchestra and Chamber Choir,” the Headmaster added. “It was incredibly powerful, filling The Friends’ Recital Hall with sound. Like a number of other boys who composed for ensembles, he conducted the piece himself.

“Overall, the evening was a great credit to the pupils and the Music department. The musical output of the students seems to go from strength to strength. Across a significant stylistic range, the music was at a very high level, confidently introduced, produced and performed.”

Click on the thumbnails below to view photos from the concert.