At exactly the same time as most people in England were sitting down to watch the England vs Germany World Cup match on Sunday 27th June, a small but appreciative audience in St Mary & St Giles Church settled down for a superb afternoon of high quality music making.  Ben Westlake, his brother James and Daniel King Smith had returned to give another recital, this time for the organ fund.

Their programme was as follows:

  • Fantasy on 13 themes from "Rigoletto" (Luigi Bassi/Guiseppi Verdi) - Ben (clarinet) and Daniel (piano)
  • Intermezzo in A, Op. 118 (Johannes Brahms) - Daniel (piano solo)
  • Sonata in E flat major, Op. 120, no 2 (Johannes Brahms) - Ben and Daniel

Interval (in which Lesley, Fiona and Marion served tea, coffee and cakes)

  • Premiere Rhapsodie (Claude Debussy) - Ben and Daniel
  • La plus que Lente (Debussy) - Daniel
  • Tarantella Op. 6 (Camille Saint-Saens) - Ben, James (flute) and Daniel
  • Romance Op. 37 (Saint-Saens) - James and Daniel
  • Suite No 1 (Claude Bolling) - James and Daniel
  • Sicilliene (Gabriel Faure) - James and Daniel
  • Solo de Concours (Andre Messager) - Ben and Daniel

The trio of all three playing together was a personal highlight for me, though all the music was wonderful.  It was occasionally punctuated by cheers or groans from the football supporters who were watching the match on screen in the Bull pub across the street.

There were 60 people in the audience.  Cash counted included £106 gift aided, the total (after expenses) was £122.39 for the organ fund.  We set the date for the concert nearly 3 months ago, and had no idea that an important match was going to be played that Sunday afternoon which probably had some impact on the size of the audience and hence the amount donated.  However the important thing was that Ben and James were able to gain more performance experience while helping the organ fund for which we are very grateful.  My apologies for the delay in publishing this record of the concert - thank you Ben, James and Daniel for your music, and thank you to all the organ fund committee and helpers who assisted with setting up, front of house and tidying up.

There is another opportunity to hear the Westlake brothers play on Saturday 28th August at 6.30 pm in St Mary & St Giles church.  This forthcoming concert will include other young talented performers, and will be a fundraiser for Ben who is hoping to go to the USA to take up a place at Ricardo Morales's Studio in Philadelphia next year.  Apparently the concert will include a soprano (Sally Mears) who will sing Schubert song with Ben on his clarinet, Shepherd on the Rock, a clarinet duet with David Mears, In Ireland Fantasy played by James and some John Rutter pieces.  Ben will also play the Weber Grand Duo Concertante and the Schumann Fantasiestucke (it is Schumann's bicentenial this year).  Admission £10 (£5 concessions), everyone welcome.  A CD of the 27th June concert will be available very soon.