Review - Scandi start to season with NSO

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Lynn Corn Exchange


The Norfolk Symphony Orchestra certainly got their 2014/15 season off to great start with a mostly Scandinavian programme of pieces both familiar and not so well known.

Music director Philip Hesketh conducted with authority throughout, starting with Sibelius’ early and popular tone-poem Finlandia and then continued with an ever enjoyable musical menu.

It’s always a pleasure for me to discover either a work or composer I am unfamiliar with, so the next item on the programme was just the ticket.

Einojuhani Rautavaara’s, Cantus Arcticus, composed in 1972 and not performed in Lynn before, is a three movement “concerto” for orchestra and taped bird songs. I found the interplay between the recorded bird song and live orchestra therapeutic and atmospheric (technically not easy to bring off), a credit to conductor and musicians.

The last movement, Swans Migrating, was especially effective, I thought, evoking sounds of wildlife similar to our own local ones.

In Carl Nielsen’s playful and teasing Flute Concerto (composed in 1926) and first performed on October 26 (the exact date of our own concert), the excellent and versatile soloist, Alex Jakeman, well known locally, sparkled as she dazzled us with her versatility. A favourite piece she tells me.

Lastly, the Orchestra, in fine form (confirmed to me by a younger member of the audience, sitting behind) performed a favourite piece of mine: Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. This work, composed in 1940, and his last completed one is full of romance, drama, poetry and quotations from previous pieces, a masterpiece in my view.

The concert was a great success and played to a full and appreciative audience; the NSO has original and exciting plans for the future, so in order to help support these, donations, grants or sponsorship are most welcome. Those interested can become a friend of the orchestra, also. For details email