Music in the Hall Series: Final Week - Piano and Choir

16 Jun 2020

The Hall has been delighted to bring you this video series ‘Music in the Hall: a musical performance series from Teddy Hall students in isolation’. Over this term, you have heard from singer/songwriters, pianists, the Teddy Hall Chapel Choir and much more!

In this final week, the music for Week 8 is all about endings and beginnings. Finalist Hudson Hovil (2016, Chemistry) plays from the last sonata published during Schubert’s life, his monumental Sonata in G, D. 894. The Chapel Choir sings a piece chosen as their Even-Swan-Song, As Torrents in summer, a short unaccompanied section which comes towards the end of a major choral work by Edward Elgar.

Sophie Jordan (2019, Modern Languages), who has sung with the choir this year writes:  ‘sometimes it isn’t quite clear whether we’ve completed a stage of life, or if what’s coming is just a subtle variation on the same theme. That’s especially the case in the current situation, with term time and vacations melting together – it makes for a less abrupt end, which I’m grateful for.’ The conclusion of the movement of the Schubert Sonata played by Hudson is the musical exemplification of Sophie’s comment, with its ending – with the quietest marking used – melting into silence. It can be seen here in the composer’s manuscript, now part of the British Library collection.

The choir members, too, chose poignancy over abruptness, with a gentle end to their choral journey in Teddy Hall. For Callum Beck (2016, Chemistry), for whom the choir has been a large part of his life as singer, conductor and organiser says of Elgar’s song ‘it holds many good memories for me, from the first piece I sung as a Tenor at the Teddy Hall feast in my 2nd year, to being a part of the Madrigals Concert I directed this Hilary Term, an apt piece to leave with. Will Ainsworth reflects on his time with the choir over the past four years with equal affection: ‘it has very much improved my confidence singing and I found it a very welcoming and fun part of my time at Oxford with choir tours to Pontigny [the choir’s summer home in the magnificent Cisterician Abbey set in the wine-growing region of Burgundy and where St Edmund’s remains are laid to rest] definitely being the highlights!’ Also featured in the Elgar choir video are finalists Annabel Redman (2016, Modern Languages) and organ scholar Viraj Alimchandani (2015, Physics).

As torrents in summer, Half dried in their channels,
Suddenly rise, tho’ the sky is still cloudlesss.
For rain has been falling.
Far off at their fountains;

So hearts that are fainting Grow full to o’erflowing,
And they that behold it, Marvel, and know not
That God at their fountains
Far off has been raining!

To watch all performances and be notified of future videos, please subscribe to the St Edmund Hall YouTube Channel.

Thank you to Dr James Whitbourn, Director of Music, who has curated this whole series in his first term at the Hall. James can be contacted at james.whitbourn@seh.ox.ac.uk.

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