Sarah Jenkins’ And The Sun Stood Still, Royal Welsh College Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

October 26, 2019 by

Winner of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers Competition, Sarah Jenkins has been making quite a name for herself. Heralding from Oxford, this clarinettist and composer got the opportunity for the musicians of our Royal Welsh to give some of her work a go. Her winter solstice inspired piece And The Sun Stood Still made for a fine opening to this concert. At times conjuring up sounds of Ravel and Debussy, this finely orchestrated work had exquisite timbres for its brief duration, harp and piano in harmony a highlight, luminous strings another.

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 usually makes for a great experience live. Yuki Minami as soloist made for a transporting vision, even with what might have been perceived as a few wrong notes. Here within the massive first movement, the stirring slow section and the resounding conclusion, it’s a piece that leaves no prisoners, Minami giving an outburst of creativity throughout. I’d say the slow second moment is a firm favourite of a concerto not in my top picks, yet still well-regarded. Minami will prove her worth over the next few years as a musician to look out for.

To conclude: Fauré’s Requiem. Conductor David Jones brought to life with glorious detail this beloved work of sacred music, with full chorus, orchestra and soloists. Here the chorus shone with a vitality, with stunning moments of sincerity in this popular work. Hats of to Alex Norton on organ, an ethereal presence throughout the proceedings. Soprano Ellen Williams gave a profound, yet hushed rendition of the eternal Pie Jesu and baritone Jack Bowtell was the back bone of the night with a ringing, impassioned delivery. Even the In Paradisum made for a fluttery, heaven-sent conclusion. Who could ask for anything more?

St David’s Hall next lunchtime concert is Laura Deignan, RWCMD Prize Winner, for a solo clarinet recital on 5th November 2019.

Photo Credit: Mike Richards

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