Jazz, folk and choral gems in King’s Lynn Festival Chorus concert

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Make a date for the King’s Lynn Festival Chorus’s next concert, which is on Tuesday, July 19, at 7.30pm in St Nicholas’ Chapel.

It promises to be a smorgasbord programme of choral delights accompanied by pianist John Byron, an old friend of the Chorus.

They will perform choral gems – from folk songs of 
Norfolk to jazz composed by the great British-American jazz pianist George Shearing of the famous George Shearing Quintet.

Songs and Sonnets of Shakespeare may sound terribly serious but at the hands of George Shearing, nothing could be further from the truth.

The collection of seven songs are joyous with piano accompaniment as you would expect from a jazz pianist, master of the genres he was most associated with, mainly jazz, swing, and bebop. Yet Who is Sylvia shows a composer equally at home in the ‘classical’ choral tradition.

To complement George Shearing is John Rutter’s Birthday Madrigals, fitting in the Queen’s 90th birthday year. Rutter dedicated these modern madrigals to Shearing on the occasion of his 75th birthday and pays homage to the jazz pianist’s fame.

Although this et of five songs are miniatures of Rutter’s work, they are perfectly formed.

In this year of notable anniversaries, the Festival celebrates 60 years since the composer Vaughan Williams conducted an orchestral concert in St Nicholas’ Chapel, the very same venue where the Chorus will perform their concert. To celebrate that, the Chorus includes his Three Shakespeare Songs and Five Mystical Songs.

However, the highlight of the Vaughan Williams anniversary is the premiere of new arrangements of four folksongs from about 70 collected by Vaughan Williams in Lynn in 1905.

He was said to have noted these songs down while listening to fisher-folk singing in the Tilden Smith pub in North Lynn, later called The Retreat. The set of four Norfolk folksongs have been done by Toby Young, who will himself feature in Contemporary Consort during the Festival. Look out for something unusual in one of the songs and some highly descriptive piano accompaniments.

There are few tunes more iconic than the majestic Nimrod theme from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The Festival Chorus sings an arrangement of it to the words of Lux Aeterna ( Eternal Light) which demands the very best in choral singing.

This concert has something for everyone, particularly for jazz piano fans. Tickets are £18, under 18s at £9, all available from Lynn Corn Exchange box office on 01553 764864 or www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk