On Monday 18 April 2016, the Tylers & Bricklayers hosted a concert at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the City to mark the 600th anniversary of the first recorded Master of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers in 1416.
The evening started with a champagne reception in the foyer outside the magnificent Milton Court auditorium, opened in 2013. The Master welcomed the Masters, wives and consorts of more than 50 other Livery Companies who joined us for the celebration. After a short speech of welcome from the Master, the Aldermanic Sherriff, Charles Bowman, resplendent in white tie, replied on behalf of the guests, congratulating the Company on its significant anniversary.
The concert was given by students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and comprised four elements: a brass quintet, a solo violin, solo piano and a soprano and tenor, singing both solo arias and duets. The standard was uniformly brilliant and the audience was in awe of the technical expertise and musical prowess of the young performers.
The concert started appropriately with a fanfare by James Maynard performed by the brass quintet, followed by lyrical pieces by Dvorak and Bach. Two performers stood out: Katie Smith on trumpet for her superb control and assured playing and the aptly named Matthew Horn, playing the French Horn.
The second performer was Katya Poplyansky on violin, accompanied by Melanie Jones. Ms Poplyansky played a piece by Saint-Saens with brilliant virtuosity, her eyes closed throughout, the spotlight falling on her fingers as they moved across the strings of the violin. She is surely a star of the future.
The dramatic piano playing of Sophia Dee showed a clear contrast to the melodic violin. A moment of calm was followed by a performance of astonishing panache and energy. The second piece - Prelude “Feux d’artifice” by Debussy – showed all the technical fireworks of the title, with the performer’s hands flying over the keyboard at such speed that it seemed possible that a third hand might be at play, and ending with a dramatic flourish. The acclaim for Ms Dee’s playing was such that she returned to the stage for a curtain call.
The final performance featured a number of well known arias and duets from both stage musicals and opera. A performance of O Sole Mio by Dominick Felix, a late but more than adequate substitute for the advertised performer who was ill, was greatly enjoyed by the audience who were invited to sing along in the final chorus, as was the Brindisi “drinking song” from La Traviata, sung by Mr Felix and Alison Langer. The concert finished with a duet from Oklahoma – “People will say we’re in Love” and loud calls for an encore were smilingly rebuffed.
The evening was rounded off with a drinks reception outside the concert hall with an opportunity to meet our guests and catch up with old friends and colleagues.