A night out in Beckenham

I’m sighing, deep, contented sighs of the soul. I’ve just been to the wonderful new Concert Hall in Beckenham to hear two of my very favourite pieces of music: Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Mozart’s Requiem, his final orchestral works. The Requiem was finished by a pupil of Mozart’s, Süssmayr when he died from a mysterious fever leaving drafts and fragments of some of the movements. It always strikes me how skilled a teacher Mozart must have been, that his pupil could complete his work to such a standard.

Tonight’s concert was a memorial tribute to the late Derek Wallace, of the Bromley Youth Music Trust. We knew him when Darling Daughter first joined the Junior Woodwind Ensemble at the age of 7. She was the youngest in the band – her feet did not even reach the floor – and he was very kind to her. There was a good turnout to remember him with glorious music.

The Clarinet Concerto was played by an ex-pupil of Mr. Wallace, Matthew Scott, now studying at the Royal Academy of Music, accompanied by the Bromley Youth Chamber Orchestra, who were brilliant throughout. From the beginning, his tone was sweet and his performance true and wonderful, rising up into the clear acoustic of the auditorium that smells of new. It seems to me that the aim of this piece is to make the hearts of the audience sing with joy and Matthew Scott succeeded, certainly in the case of this soppy old date. Darling Daughter has performed the Second Movement of this concerto at prize givings and auditions and her aim is always to see tears in the eyes of her audience at the end. Great fat tears always start rolling down my cheeks from the beginning, of course. It is really embarrassing, and difficult to explain to someone not as moved as me. When the conductor, John Esaias, Head of Woodwind, hushed the orchestra to a whisper in the second half of this movement, it was magical.

Mozart’s Requiem is my favourite choral work and was beautifully executed by the choir that contained so many familiar faces. I knew loads of people in the audience too. It’s a small world of music in Bromley.


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