A firm favourite on the Loreto calendar, the Concerto Competition, named for the patron saint of music and musicians, St Cecilia, took place at the end of November. Seven talented instrumentalists, a record number, competed for the prestigious award, and the opportunity to perform at the Easter Concert at the RNCM. All seven competitors were accompanied in splendid style by Loreto piano tutor, Silvia Lucas, whilst Jonathan Fisher, staff pianist at the RNCM and Head of Keyboard Studies at the University of Huddersfield, adjudicated.
After all seven had performed, Jonathan addressed some general remarks, stressing the importance of communication, and drawing attention to the technical challenge presented by some of the pieces. He highlighted the good passage work shown by trumpet player Hannah Beech, in the Concerto for Trumpet, by Oskar Bohme, and the rich melodic tones reached by Sophia Rawlings, as she played the first movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Flautist Milana Bout was congratulated on her sparkling performance of Concertino by Chaminade, distinguished by good characterisation, drive and energy. Two pianists, Edwin Chan and James Holland, presented a sharp contrast in styles, with Edwin demonstrating well controlled passage work and excellent soft dynamics in his rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1, and James showing energy and commitment in his approach to Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in A. Jonathan was impressed by the clear tone and secure intonation displayed by violinist Fionnuala Bradbury, as she tackled Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G, but the ultimate accolade went to Lilah Bell, who was praised for her clean clear sound and overall sense of style, as she performed the first movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G Major. Lilah will now go on to play at the Easter Concert, at the RNCM on April 4th, 2019.
This year’s winner of the Composition Prize is Hannah Beech, with her setting for unaccompanied choir of the Medieval Latin text, Personent Hodie. Hannah’s piece is a homage to choral writing of Renaissance styles and she has captured the joyous Christmas spirit with her composition, which will premiere at the Certificate Evening in December. Special mention should also be made of Georgia Goldsbrough, a very close runner up.