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Norfolk Symphony Orchestra’s new season off to a flying start at Alive King’s Lynn Corn Exchange

Review: Norfolk Symphony Orchestra

Life in Pieces Concert at Alive Corn Exchange, Lynn

The recent Norfolk Symphony Orchestra’s concert, the first of their new season, got off to a flying start with an appropriately dramatic performance of Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del Destino, a passionate, but tragic opera, first performed in 1862. The concert then followed with fine pieces by two French composers.

The Norfolk Symphony Orchestra
The Norfolk Symphony Orchestra

The well attended concert continued with the charming and atmospheric Ballet Suite Le Cid, by Jules Massenet, a set of rhythmic dance movements taking us back to 17th Century Spain, which certainly got our feet tapping! The suite was composed as an interlude to his opera of the same name, first performed in 1885. Massenet won the prestigious Prix de Rome competition in 1863 as had Berlioz in 1830. Coincidentally , I’ve recently discovered Massenet’s little known Piano Concerto, another piece well worth getting to know.

After the concert’s interval Berlioz’s famous masterpiece, his trail-blazing Symphonie Fantastique, first performed as early as 1830, was given another passionate performance; the symphony brilliantly depicts a story of love, passion, hallucination, and nightmarish scenes, including the famous March to the Scaffold.

In the final movement , The Witches Sabbath, real church bells were used to eery effect. The rousing performance of the work was dedicated to the memory of the late Sheri Rutland, the orchestra’s timpanist for many years; she wanted real church bells used in past performances of the symphony, but that was not possible, on this occasion, however, with the help of a gift from her, proper church bells were used!

All members of the orchestra, conducted by Steve Bingham , and lead by Alice Ruffle, gave enthusiastic and exciting renderings of the programme’s dramatic works. We are invited to the movies for the orchestra’s next concert on January 21 next year.

Andy Tyler

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