November 9, 2018

A level music visit to Newcastle University 

Before half term, our A level musicians attended a concert at Newcastle University, which complimented the study of their set works. Tenor Oliver Vincent and accompanist Venera Bojkova delivered an excellent programme charting the development of the song throughout the history of music, from Handel’s Deeper and Deeper Still to Britten’s The Prologue via Mozart’s Un’aura Amorosa. The boys really got a sense of how the art of setting text to music has developed through various genres such as Opera, Oratorio and Romantic Lieder.

The second half of the concert, with songs inspired by the events of the First World War, was particularly helpful to Jesse M who is currently setting a war poem to music for his AS composition task.

he pieces by British composers Browne, Quilter, Gurney and Vaughan-Williams were particularly moving and poignant as all four composers actually fought in the First World War. Oliver Vincent’s Tenor voice was exceptional and his explanation of the pieces before he performed them really helped the audience understand and contextualise what they were hearing. Venera Bojkova provided a well-polished piano accompaniment and the two well-rehearsed musicians had an excellent rapport which really brought out the nuances in the music.

On the Metro ride back to school, the boys confidently discussed the concert and talked about the various ‘word painting’ techniques the composers had used to set text to music. Another thought-provoking day out for our A level students to inspire them in their studies.