A Round-Up of Music


Just before and since half term, music has continued to be a huge part of Charterhouse life and concerts have continued to flow from the Music department, particularly in this very special year in which we continue to celebrate both 150 years of Charterhouse in Godalming, but also of one of our most esteemed Old Carthusians, Ralph Vaughan Williams. Charterhouse Music department is thrilled to be part of a wider national programme of events celebrating the composer which, this week, kicked off in earnest up in Manchester with a concert given by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra last week. The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust is ably supporting the year long series of events, of which our very own Charterhouse Concert Series is delighted to be involved.

Evening Recital, 10 March 2022

The second in our Series was given by Head of Strings, Mr Rafael Bolivar and Mr Daniel Hill (piano teacher), a truly superb concert showcasing the monumental Vaughan Williams’s Violin Sonata as well as works for piano by Ravel and Howells, composers with which Vaughan Williams had very close affiliation. The concert can be viewed on the School website, but to be in the audience and witness some exquisite playing was really quite something. The Violin Sonata is rarely performed, partially for its difficulty, but perhaps mainly for its mammoth musical undertaking. We were privileged to be able to witness such a performance.

Lunchtime Concerts in the Music department have continued to be a real delight – a chance for pupils to showcase repertoire in a much more informal setting, yet improving their abilities to perform and prepare for larger occasions. Recently, we’ve had lovely performances by Matthew, Tianzong and Freddie (voice), Eamon, Jago, Ife and Tom (clarinet) with Hattie, Bridget and a host of others to look forward to as the end of term nears. They have also been an output for all of our chamber musicians as they’ve prepared for the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Competition. At the time of writing, all of our groups safely negotiated the Quarter-Finals and are awaiting news on progression to the Semi-Finals. Needless to say, there has been some astonishingly good playing from all of our pupils: Thomas, Eddie, Taki, in particular, mastering their way through some dense and complex Shostakovich. Fingers crossed for all of our groups!

The more formal Evening Recitals have also been another moment of excellence from our pupils this term: just the two evenings, but we enjoyed the beautiful playing of Timothy, Christy and Luca earlier in the term, and we look forward to hearing Beethoven’s Spring Sonata later this term, played by Sophie. This concert will also be an outing for our String Ensemble, a first performance in a major concert.

Evening Recital, 10 March 2022

We were thrilled to welcome Professor Ian Wilson (Guildhall School of Music and Eton College) to Charterhouse to judge our annual Woodwind Competition. A huge number of pupils performed, and it was most encouraging to see how healthy this department is looking. Pupils played with great aplomb with prizes being taken by Fraser (Junior), Alex (Intermediate) and Horace (Senior). Many thanks indeed to Head of Woodwind, Mr Corkin, but also the team of visiting Music teachers for preparing our pupils so successfully. This was a super afternoon of excellent playing. Bravo tutti!

Chapel Choir continues to go from strength to strength. Regular Evensongs and performances in Chapel are becoming increasingly natural to this wonderful group of singers, and a recent highlight was their performance of Allegri’s seminal Miserere mei in the Evensong for Ash Wednesday. Tasked with the responsibility of the soaring ‘top C’ was Aomi who soared with beauty and excellence. Aomi has been a real star since joining Charterhouse, singing in just about every ensemble going! Mention must also go to her quartet partners – Hattie, Rosie-May and Thomas, all who supplied an ethereal compliment to the efforts of the main Chapel Choir in a performance that created a serene sense of calm and contemplation, not just to mark the start of Lent, but also amidst the heightening situation in Ukraine. Chapel services, talks and even a ringing of the Carillon bells by one of our pupils has helped the Charterhouse community to show our support and solidarity at this time.

This has been another busy half, and it’s not over yet. At the time of writing, we look forward to the upcoming Baroque Concert, the third in our Vaughan Williams Concert Series (featuring the Britten Sinfonia), and a run of six performances of the school musical Fame! As ever, many thanks to everyone that keeps the department buys and flourishing. Don’t forget to check out the Music department YouTube page, Twitter feed and also the Vaughan Williams Concert Series details on the main school website.