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Symphony Orchestra ‘expresses the mood’ of French compositions in Autumn Concert Series

Tonbridge School’s Symphony Orchestra Concert, Friday 17 November 2023

There was a distinctively French flavour to the School’s Symphony Orchestra Concert on Friday (17 November).

Featuring pieces from composers Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Messiaen and Bizet, the evening was the latest chapter in the four-part, themed Autumn Concert series, Pièces de Résistance.

More than 60 Tonbridge boys, from across all year groups, treated the audience to a sublime hour of French repertoire. The concert, in the Chapel of St Augustine, was conducted by Mark Forkgen, Director of Music. 

The Symphony Orchestra performed Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns), Pavane pour une infante défunte and Le Jardin féerique (Ravel), Les Offrandes oubliées (Messiaen) and the Carmen Suite (Ravel), with Mr Forkgen praising the boys’ ability to tackle such a variety of challenging work. 

“What was most impressive was that the orchestra expressed the mood of each piece,” he said. “The boys captured the exuberance of the Carmen Suite and the required sensitivity needed for Ravel, while grasping the complexity of Messiaen’s work and conveying the colourful, evocative nature of Danse Macabre.  

“Our concert also gave section leaders a chance to shine, with solos for violin, horn, flute, and oboe, and they rose to the challenge superbly.”

The Autumn Concert series concludes with a Piano and Chamber Concert on Friday 8 December (Recital Room, 7.30pm). 

The Lower School Concert, always a hugely enjoyable performance which highlights the talents of the School’s younger musicians, takes place on Friday 1 December (Chapel, 7.30pm).

Photos from rehearsals, as well as from the Symphony Orchestra Concert, are above and below.

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