REVIEW BY Chris Coote
The sixteenth annual University Showcase competition on 17th April was once again a most memorable evening when we heard six students competing for The Robert Headley Music Prize. They were chosen from the original fourteen that auditioned, and the competition was adjudicated by Ian Richardson, Assistant Director of Music at the Prebendal School Chichester, and Assistant Musical Director and Accompanist to the Portsmouth Choral Union.
Winner of the first prize of £600, soprano Bryony Morrison, entranced us with her beautiful tone as she performed songs by Liszt, Poulenc, Amy Beach and an unusual choice, Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s “The Owl and the Pussy Cat” which was singled out for its clarity and excellent communication The second prize of £350 went to soprano Aileen Baker, who sang songs and arias by Schumann, Verdi and Bizet. She captured the different moods of her pieces excellently. Third prize of £250 went to pianist Brady Lloyd who played a Moment Musicaux by Rachmaninoff followed by his own composition “90 Minutes”. He completed a most original programme with “Improvisation on Pachebel’s Canon”, the audience bursting into laughter at the sudden reference to Mozart’s sonata in C major.
There were three runners up prizes of £100 each. Sophie Earl sang the most amusing “Girl in 14g”, “She used to be mine” by Sara Bareillas, and “I’m a Star” by Scott Alan. Discarding her microphone and accompanying herself on the guitar, she ended her performance with “Over the Rainbow”. Nara Clapperton sang a Handel aria from Theodora, Schubert’s Frühlingsglaube and two lovely Britten songs. Jess Saunders (French horn) played Morceau de Concert by Saint Saëns and a movement from Mozart’s 1st horn concerto, changing her modern instrument for a natural horn, without valves, with all its challenges!
Excellent accompaniment was provided by Ben Hall, Head of Music at the University, and Craig Thomas.
The prizes were awarded by the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Catherine Harper, who expressed her pleasure at the very high standard of musicianship on display, and the excellent relationship that the Funtington Music Group has forged with the University’s Music Department over the past sixteen years through its financial support by way of prizes and bursaries and the purchase of instruments for use by students. She hoped that the relationship would continue for many more years.
Further details of the Funtington Music Group appear on our website at http://www.funtingtonmusicgroup.org.uk or are available from the Membership Secretary, Mrs Elizabeth Brooks, on 01243 378900.