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This weekend the Eton Symphony and Chamber Orchestras performed their first School Concert in two years at Milton Court, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D and 2nd Symphony in C Minor, as well as Arensky’s Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, were the absolute highlights, as Press Officer Alexander F-B reports.

This was the first School Concert in two years, making it a particularly special occasion. The standout performance was undoubtedly Music Scholar John G’s spectacular performance as the soloist of the concerto. John sensitively captured the different emotions that run through the movements – the brilliance and vivaciousness of the Allegro Moderato, the tints of melancholy in the Canzonetta, and the folky dynamism of the Finale – with his typical virtuosity. This was no mean feat, given that two professional violin soloists, Joseph Kotek and Leopold Auer, both declined Tchaikovsky’s invitation to premiere the work in the late 1870s, given its technical complexity.

The Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Symphony was likewise a great success. Of particular note was the faultless French horn solo that bookended the first movement. Similarly, the military precision of the second movement’s clipped march was an impressive achievement of coordination between various sections of the orchestra.

The Chamber Orchestra’s delivery of Arensky’s Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky beautifully expressed Arensky’s sorrow at the death of Tchaikovsky, who had a large influence on Arensky’s compositional style. The quality of the music-making in the concert reflected the many hours of practice that went into all the pieces, under the direction of Precentor Mr Johnson and Head of Strings Mr Silvera.

The spirited atmosphere at Milton Court certainly reflected the players’ delight with their performance, and their awe at John’s solo. Needless to say, everyone is greatly anticipating next term’s School Concert, also at Milton Court, where Paul J will be the soloist in Liszt’s 2nd Piano Concerto.

Merry Christmas from Eton’s Musicians!