The stage was set for this year’s Angus Ross Memorial Concert at Christ’s Hospital on Sunday March 18 which began and ended with major works by one of England’s most prominent living composers, John Rutter.
The concert highlight was Rutter’s ‘Magnificat’, premiered in 1990 and written for soprano soloist (the sublime Emma Brain Gabbott), orchestra (a combination of current Christ’s Hospital pupils, recent leavers and professionals) and chorus (the Christ’s Hospital Choral Society and Chapel Choir).
Rutter stated that his setting of the text was deliberately ‘infused with Mediterranean sunshine’ and the assembled forces captured the spirit of the work, with its memorable melodies, driving rhythms and masterful orchestration, including a prominent harp part, played by Kirsten, a current pupil.
Rutter’s ‘Suite Antique’, in six movements, written for flute solo, with the solos being shared by six current pupils, Ren, Katherine, Lisa, Amber, Helena and Olga, string orchestra (the CH Chamber Orchestra) and harpsichord, played by Baasandorj, conducted by head of strings, Emily Marsden. This was initially written as a companion piece to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No5 and including a number of deliberate tributes to the earlier work, provided an exciting prelude to the Symphony Orchestra playing a selection of works by earlier English composer Edward Elgar, which included movements from his famous Enigma Variations.
Before the ‘Magnificat’, the chairman of the Christ’s Hospital Choral Society, Liz Lancaster, presented three pupils with the Choral Society’s annual bursary award, intended to allow recipients to pursue singing opportunities outside the school. The winners this year were Katerina, Rebecca and Phoebe.
Angus Ross was educated at Christ’s Hospital from 1930-37. As music was very important to him, The Angus Ross Fund was set up after his death in 1984, the income of which helps to support an annual concert bearing his name and involves as many of the school’s pupils as possible.