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Review: Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, St Nicholas Chapel, King's Lynn



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With a ‘plug’ from BBC Radio 3, the fine Norfolk Symphony Orchestra players, Alice Ruffle leading, Steve Bingham directing, and Madeleine Mitchell as soloist in Bruch’s First Violin Concerto in G minor, you have all the ingredients for an enjoyable and successful orchestral concert, and so the recent NSO’s concert turned out to be!

Entitled ‘Forces of Nature’ the concert featured Ethel Smyth’s overture to her opera, The Wreckers, Bruch’s first Violin Concerto, and Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony in E minor, all late romantic works, lush, lyrical, and passionate.

I’m pleased to report the rich scoring and internal dramatic orchestration where emphasised well by all sections of the orchestra, which never lost its warmth, with individual solos coming through clearly.

Madeleine Mitchell by Daniel Ross is performing at St Nicholas Chapel in Lynn for the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra. (56718967)
Madeleine Mitchell by Daniel Ross is performing at St Nicholas Chapel in Lynn for the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra. (56718967)

By coincidence, excellent soloist Madeleine Mitchell had one of her recordings of music by Frank Bridge broadcast on Radio 3 earlier in the day, and she gave a confident, sweet toned, but appropriately forthright performance of the Bruch with the Norfolk Orchestra in the afternoon.

The Wreckers Overture is a favourite piece of mine, so I’m looking forward to hearing the complete opera by Ethel Smyth at a Prom performed this year in late July.

The lovely Rachmaninov Symphony No.2, including that well known glorious romantic melody in its slow movement, is also a favourite; I treasure my recording of it with Andre Previn conducting, but it would be great to hear his First Symphony performed more often, it also contains a famous melody, used by the BBC as theme music to a past Panorama series, but the piece had a disastrous first performance leading to a mental musical block Rachmaninov suffered for a few years.

Steve Bingham and the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra (56718954)
Steve Bingham and the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra (56718954)

Anyhow, thanks, to all concerned for a memorable afternoon’s concert, we look forward to the next in late June.

Andy Tyler



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