Young stars shine

Two young musicians stole the show at the lunch-time concert in St. Peter’s Church on 19th March for recipients of grants from the Michael Hurd Fund for Young Musicians.  Rachel Newberry (voice) and Rebecca McNaught (cello) gave a stellar performance which was warmly received by the capacity audience.

Rachel, a second-year student at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, was capably accompanied by Mark Dancer. She opened her recital with, fittingly, Schubert’s An die Musik sung in German with excellent diction. She continued with a selection of songs and operatic arias by Puccini, Poulenc, Mozart, Bizet and Roger Quilter. These pieces beautifully illustrated Rachel’s wonderful vocal range, from pure top notes to rich low ones. Throughout, she was in total control, smiling brightly.

Rebecca McNaught, a gifted young cellist, took the stage with her equally talented accompanist, Emily Hoh. Rebecca demonstrated a mastery of her instrument that was very satisfying to watch. Firstly she gave us a piece by James MacMillan Kiss on Wood which was appropriate to Holy Week. Despite the technical difficulty of the piece Rebecca was able to communicate expressively, showing excellent rapport with her accompanist. Next came Trois Pièces by Nadia Boulanger. Full of dynamic contrasts, exciting and vibrant, these pieces were played by Rebecca superbly.

The Finale of the lunchtime concert was Rebecca’s Le Grand Tango by Piazzolla, who was, she explained, taught by Boulanger at one stage. This virtuosic, fiery, impassioned tango tossed between Rebecca and Emily, blew the audience away. There were cheers and a storm of applause when it came to an end. It is wonderful that Rebecca, who has just secured a place with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, was helped to buy the wonderful instrument she played on by the Michael Hurd Fund. The retiring collection was in aid of this fund which will be used to help yet more young musicians.

Marcia Fielden