Edweard Bhesania listens to the performance of Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Richter, Takemitsu and Debussy at London’s Kings Place on 14 March 2024 

Yehudi Menuhin School. Photo: Nigel Luckhurst

Yehudi Menuhin School. Photo: Nigel Luckhurst

As music colleges have done for some years, the Yehudi Menuhin School (under music director Ashley Wass) also artistically curates programming across its concerts. This season’s theme has been ‘the elements’, which figured in this Leavers’ Concert. Seventeen students appeared in chamber groups or as soloists, and as many again formed the string orchestra for Max Richter’s Four Seasons Recomposed.

The players in Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s piano quintet The Whole Earth Dances drew out the contrast between episodes of sharp violence and unfurling tendrils (relating respectively to Ted Hughes’s poems Thistles and Ferns); and there was notably sophisticated co-ordination between violinist Slavina Teneva and violist Clara-Sophia Wernig. Takemitsu’s more abstract Between Tides is harder to bring off, but a different group of players conveyed its spare beauty.

 

After an atmospheric performance of three of Debussy’s piano Préludes, arranged for guitar and four string instruments by Menuhin guitar professor Richard Wright, four soloists took turns to front Richter’s Four Seasons Recomposed. Each of the soloists – Anna Zilberbord, Chloe Lui, Vadym Perig and Sasha Parker – played (and led) with great assurance. It was also heartening to hear four very distinctive musical personalities, as well as the energetic commitment of their fellow students in the string orchestra. The audience was naturally biased, but its enthusiastic applause was fully deserved.

EDWARD BHESANIA