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Review: Contempory Consort with Michael Berkley, King's Lynn Town Hall



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It’s always interesting to attend concerts where contemporary music is being performed, but the contemporary music recital at the Town Hall, performed as part of the King’s Lynn Festival, was something special.

Not only did members of the Contemporary Consort group perform music by composer, broadcaster, and non-party political member of the House of Lords, Michael Berkeley, CBE, but Michael attended the event himself, and was interviewed briefly at the start by festival artistic director, Ambrose Miller.

It seemed strange to see and hear Michael being interviewed , as he is usually the interviewer on BBC Radio 3’s popular programme Private Passions!

Contemporary Consort, left to right, Andrew Skidmore (cello), Sarah Thurlow ( clarinet), Iain Farrington (piano) and lastly in blue famous composer and broadcaster Michael Berkeley. (58240523)
Contemporary Consort, left to right, Andrew Skidmore (cello), Sarah Thurlow ( clarinet), Iain Farrington (piano) and lastly in blue famous composer and broadcaster Michael Berkeley. (58240523)

It was fascinating to learn about Michael’s eventful life, (he’s is the eldest son of British composer Sir Lennox Berkeley), and a godson of Benjamin Britten, and to hear some of his memorable music such as: Flighting, American Suite (1980), two versions of his Dark Waltz and also the lively, quirky and playful dance Holkham Hoedown, created especially for the Festival.

The Hoedown also served as an appropriate highly spirited encore. Michael has family connections with Holkham and North Norfolk.

Beethoven’s Piano Trio, in B flat major Op11 was given a splendid performance by Sarah Thurlow ( clarinet), Andrew Skidmore ( cello), and Iain Farrington (piano), members of The Contemporary Consort, but they excelled in performances of the Berkeley works, also. Distinguished musicians all.

This first class and most enjoyable Festival Event was sponsored by Merxin. Thanks to all involved!

Andy Tyler



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