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REVIEW: A Celebration of Kathleen Ferrier, Guildhall, Lynn

I cannot think of much better ways of marking the 70th King’s Lynn Festival than an evening celebrating the life and career of Kathleen Ferrier, one of Britain’s most distinguished and famed singers of the last century.

Her close association with the festival is, naturally, of special significance to local people and supporters, so the celebratory concert narrated by Zeb Soanes, with the music performed by Diana Moore (mezzo-soprano), and John Reid (piano), proved very popular with the full audience.

Her life, music and international career was presented in an interesting, entertaining and informative way, with the help of relevant images projected on a large, clear screen.

Diana Moore by Theresa Pewal (49514650)
Diana Moore by Theresa Pewal (49514650)

Besides depicting Kathleen, her family and close friends, such famous musicians as Bruno Walter, Sir John Barbirolli, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears also featured, several having strong local connections, besides performing regularly at the festival.

And so to the music! Many arias, folk songs and lied that Kathleen made famous were included in a varied and affecting programme. Composers included were Gluck, Quilter, Handel, Mendelssohn, Britten, Brahms, Bridge, Schubert and Elgar.

The pieces were well integrated, and affectionately performed, with the excellent narration during this special celebration.

For me the occasion had special significance, I was born just a few days before Kathleen died on October 8, 1953 of cancer, and my mother, (who was a great Ferrier fan), also died of cancer during the next decade. I treasure a recording Ferrier made of music by Gustav Mahler. A fine, biographical recital, and personal memorial.

Andy Tyler.

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