Norfolk Symphony Orchestra free ticket offer for under-18s

Nicholas McCarthy
Nicholas McCarthy
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Free tickets to young music lovers will again be on offer at the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra’s next concert, at Lynn Corn Exchange on Sunday, November 27. The NSO is committed to producing music of the highest quality, performing varied and exciting programmes, and the orchestra will once again be giving away 100 free tickets to under-18s throughout this season.

It is hugely encouraging for the orchestra to find that there are so many enthusiastic supporters for classical music among the young people of the county and members hope families will come along to enjoy a concert with a difference.

This will be a Music of War concert by the NSO, in remembrance of those who fell at the Battle of the Somme, which ended 100 years ago.

The music will take you on an emotional journey through the grim reality of war, from the frenzied death and destruction of the battlefield to the subsequent desolation and despair that follows.

Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and Nielsen’s 4th Symphony The Inextinguishable; three works that express these feelings, not just in the music itself, but also in the lives of the people that created the work.

George Butterworth’s Shropshire Lad Rhapsody is an orchestral epilogue to the composer’s song cycle of the same name, his musical setting of poems from A E Housman’s A Shropshire Lad, that mourns the lives and deaths of “redcoats” (British soldiers).

It is a sombre, quiet piece with a climax at the end from the trumpets echoing the main theme The Cherry Tree and then the drum beats in an eerie funereal manner. Butterworth was honoured with the Military Cross three times for bravery in the Battle of the Somme and was killed by a sniper in August 1916 at the age of 31.

Soloist for the Ravel is Nicholas McCarthy, an internationally-renowned pianist and the first left-handed pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music. Born without his right hand, Nicholas had the honour of performing the Ravel last year on Armistice Day in a Concert of Remembrance at St John’s Smith Square in London.

The concerto was originally commissioned by Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had his right arm amputated after he was shot during the First World War. He was determined not to give up on his career as a musician and commissioned leading 20th century composers, including Ravel and Prokofiev, to write works for the left hand alone. Ravel was fascinated by the technical challenge of composing a concerto for the left hand, and approached the project with immense interest and enthusiasm.

The NSO is delighted the Nicholas is coming to West Norfolk to perform such a famous and moving work.

Nielsen’s 4th Symphony will end the programme, known for its fiery spirit, energy and battling Timpani kettle drums, a reference to the war, this piece written in four movements, performed without a pause thus, intensifying the senses for performers and listener alike, keeping the tension thread throughout the themes. It will be a thrilling finale to a wonderful afternoon of live music. The thing that is “Inextinguishable” in Nielsen’s mind is life itself, thus providing an optimistic end to the NSO’s Music of War concert.

Tickets are £16 and available from the Corn Exchange box office on 01553 764864 or online at The concert starts at 3.30pm.