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Feast your ears on American greats

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On Sunday, March 24, the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra offers a feast of American music greats in St Nicholas’ Chapel in Lynn.

It’s a perfect opportunity for young people to experience the thrill of an orchestra firing on all cylinders (under-18s get in free).

The Sunday afternoon concert kicks off with a blast of bold brass and percussion. Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man is “what history sounds like”; optimistic and direct, written to motivate troops in WWII. Is this where John Williams got his Superman theme from?

A superhero of the piano takes the stage next! The orchestra is delighted to welcome award-winning Viv McLean (“fingers of steel, muscles of velvet” Le Monde), who will perform George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, bringing the Jazz Age to the audience.

Viv has performed all Gershwin’s works with major orchestras around the world, as well as appearing on radio and TV.

The concerto starts with Charleston rhythms, quick and pulsating, making toes tap. The second movement is nocturnal American Blues, with a sumptuous mellow trumpet solo.

Gershwin described the last movement as an “orgy of rhythms”, with breathtaking virtuoso brilliance on the piano.

Viv McLean
Viv McLean

After the interval, a change of mood. Philip Glass is a minimalist American, and the four short movements of Company, played by the strings of the orchestra, will hypnotise you with repeated phrases, shifting textures and rhythmic tension, two beats against three.

And then a thrilling end to the concert with Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

Listen for finger-clicks and shout-outs from the orchestra as pulsating dance rhythms and tender moments interchange as the lovers head towards tragedy, under the baton of internationally-renowned conductor Philip Hesketh.

Norfolk Symphony Orchestra is once again giving away 100 free tickets to under 18s for this concert (call the box office to get this offer) and hopes families will come along and enjoy a scintillating concert on a spring afternoon.

Tickets are £16 (free to under 18s), available from the box office on 01553 764864 or online at www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk The concert starts at 3.30pm.

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