Purcell 350th Anniversary celebration by HYM

I went to a splendid concert by Harrow Young Musicians last Sunday at St John’s, Smith Square.

The first half was a lively combination of steel pans and symphonic winds and the second half featured tenorCarlos Nogueira, accompanied by the HYM Symphony performing “On Wenlock Edge” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

However the main focus was on Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695), in celebration of his 350th anniversary. The Symphony Orchestra played “Rondeau from Abdelazer”. The HYM Philharmonic then sung some of the items from music from the Funeral of Queen Marry II – it was hard to believe that they are not a choir, the standard was so high, and excellent preparation for the mass they are to sing in St Marks, Venice later this month.

The evening was completed with the Philharmonic performing “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” by Benjamin Britten. Conducted by HYM musical director Mark Gooding, they gave an exemplary performance of these Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell (just to show that sampling is not a modern pop phenomena). I think that Purcell, especially given how young he was when he died, would have been amazed that 350 years later his work was still giving enjoyment to many and that it was being played to such high standards by young people.

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