Sunday 27 March 2011

Glory at St. Peter Mancroft!

On Saturday night I attended the Keswick Hall Choir Voices and Brass concert at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. John Aplin was Conductor on this evening of delightful choral music. Soloists on Gloria were Sopranos Rebecca Mundy and Wendy Weal with Carole Wyatt as Contralto.

The programme consisted of Two Motets from Sacrae Symphoniae II by Giovanni Gabrieli. Three Psalms from Psalmen Davids by Heinrich Schutz. Two Motets from Sacrae Symphoniae I by Giovanni Gabrieli. Four Motets from Anton Bruckner: Offertorium: Afferentur regi, Graduale: Locus iste, Hymnus: Vexilla regis and Ecce sacerdos magnus. The evening finished with John Rutter's Gloria.

This was another wonderful performance at St. Peter Mancroft of uplifting and inspiring music. The combination of voices and brass filled the church completely and moved everyone emotionally in the audience. Gloria was a very rousing way to finish the evening. Glory be to God on high. Amen.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Brahms evening at St. Andrew's Hall

On Saturday night I was at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich for Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus' last concert in their 2010-11 season. This was a joint concert with the choir of the Musik-Institut Koblenz of Bruckner Psalm 150 and Brahms German Requiem Op.45.

We were privileged to have Sarah-Jane Davies as soprano and James Rutherford as baritone on the evening who both gave excellent performances. David Dunnett was conductor on this special night at St. Andrew's Hall.

Psalm 150 was written by Brucker in 1892 which was his last sacred choral work. This was a very uplifting start to the concert. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluia!

Johannes Brahms is one of my favourite composers and two days before the concert during a trip to London I purchased in HMV on Oxford Street a recording of Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra which I had on repeat play before the concert.

This work was first performed in Bremen Cathedral in 1868 with Brahms conducting. The text is taken from the Lutheran Bible that gives consolation through faith in the life to come. Brahms wanted this work to address all believers saying that he would have liked to have left out the word 'German' and refer instead to 'Mankind'.

The performance by the Orchestra and choirs were very moving and uplifting on the night. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. At the end of the concert we all applauded enthusiastically showing how much everyone present enjoyed this evening of fantastic music. 

Monday 21 March 2011

Shakespeare delights at the Maddermarket Theatre

Double Falsehood bringing Andalucia, Spain
1612 to the Maddermarket Theatre
On Friday night I was at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich for Double Falsehood or The Distressed Lovers by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. This play was included in the Arden Shakespeare in 2010 and scholars now believe it is based on The History of Cardenio a lost collaboration between Shakespeare and John Fletcher.

The Maddermarket Theatre is a beautiful place to visit and I very much enjoyed my evening. The play is set in Andalicia, Spain in 1612 telling the story of two brothers Roderick and Henriquez who falls for two women. Violante and Leonora who is engaged to Julio.

It was a fine and fitting performance from the Norwich Players who has staged all of Shakespeare's plays. I particularly loved the scenery for the acts in the mountains. Great acting and brilliant Elizabethan costume.

Norwich should be proud of the Maddermarket Theatre and all the fine productions staged at this wonderful building full of history and character.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Having fun with The Decemberists!

The Decemberists having fun at Hammersmith Apollo
I was in London on Wednesday and Thursday this week that included attending The Decemberists gig at Hammersmith Apollo. On Wednesday afternoon I visited Tate Modern which was a sea of sunflower seeds.

Blind Pilot supported on Wednesday night with a set that brought dreamy Americana that made us wish we were down on the ranch.

The Decemberists made it a fun night for everyone with their Indie Folk putting smiles on all our faces. For two hours Colin Meloy and his band entertained us with lots of highlights from their new album The King Is Dead.

It was wonderful watching a band playing traditional folk instruments. During the encore the band got us all to scream like we were being eaten by a whale for The Mariner's Revenge Song. Overall I would say this was a very enjoyable evening and I recommend that you check out The Decemberists if you have not already discovered them.

On Thursday I visited the Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert Museums as well as Tate Britain before making the journey home to Norwich.

Friday 18 March 2011

Wu Lyf proving the hype!

Wu Lyf bringing their hits
to Norwich Arts Centre!
On Tuesday I was Norwich Arts Centre for the Wu Lyf gig with support from S Maharba who provided us with some psych-soul to warm us up for the main event.

Wu Lyf have kept an air of mystery around themselves and came to Norwich with lots of hype and expectations. Ellery Roberts introduced their set as their Disney hits. Heavy Pop indeed from these Mancunians.

They gave us a performance to make us think and maybe one day we will say we were at Norwich Arts Centre when Wu Lyf played. Spitting It Concreate Like The Golden Sun God got us all coming over dark like a rainy day in Manchester.

At the end of their set Ellery Roberts said that's all folks. This is not the last time we will hear from Wu Lyf who have that certain something about them to make them a special band.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Sounds and movement to impress

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
Sing, dance and make merry, write poetry or act out a play. I can hear the sound of Brahms echoing out of St. Andrew's Hall, with the beauty of the choir singing like nightingales in the evening air.

At the Maddermarket Theatre it's time to experience William Shakespeare at this home of Norwich culture. Double Falsehood will question your identity as you dress to impress in Elizabethan costume.

Theatre Royal is full of Flamenco dancing filled with movement and high drama. Carmen Amaya is La Leyenda being choreographed on stage. Full of rhythmic expressions that will take your breath away.

Monday 14 March 2011

Betelgeuse going supernova

Betelgeuse shining bright!
Oh Betelgeuse you have shined so bright in the night sky. From the Orion constellation we can see you on the surface of Earth but the arrow of time waits for no one or the life of a star.

The day you go supernova will be very spectacular when you will light up our world like a second Sun. From red supergiant star to collapsing and blasting into space.

The end of one life signals the beginning of new life as the elements created inside you will form new stars and spread life throughout the Universe. Oh bright Betelgeuse burning like fire.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Viva Voce Singers celebrating 20 years

Tonight the Viva Voce Singers provided a pleasant evening of choral music by Bryd, Victoria and Grainger with Liszt piano solos at St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. The evening was entitled Anniversaries as part of their 20th anniversary.

Percy Grainger died 50 years ago in 1961. Franz Liszt was born 200 years ago in 1811 and Tomas Luis de Victoria died 400 years ago in 1611. William Byrd is not in an anniversary year but his masses are at the core of English choral repertory so they seemed the perfect choice to be included in this anniversary year for the Viva Voce Singers.

The evening started with a delightful performance from the choir of Byrd's Mass for Four Voices then more delights with Victoria's wonderful Latin church music including Ave Maria.

After the interval when I was served with a delicious glass of apple juice the choir sang Mary Thompson and The Gipsy's Wedding Day both Grainger English folk songs as well as Dalvisa a Swedish folk melody arranged by Grainger.

We were then taken into another direction by Benjamin Lee with a Liszt piano solo of Consolations S. 172 that was warmly received by the audience. The evening was completed with O mistress mine by Thomas Morley which Grainger gave a simple five part treatment. Brigg Fair which Grainger collected from a woodman, Joseph Taylor and finally Country Gardens which was Grainger's big hit.

This was a wonderful evening of music from the Viva Voce Singers that I'm sure everyone in attendance very much enjoyed.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 11 is going to be amazing and fun!

I hope your all looking forward to the Norfolk & Norwich Festival 11 as much as me. This international arts festival takes place from 6th-21st May 2011 in Norwich and across Norfolk.

With music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts there should be something for everyone. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra at The Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth and the Ballet Nacional de Espana performing Dualia and La Leyenda at Norwich Theatre Royal.

The opening concert of the festival is the Festival Chorus with the English Chamber Orchestra at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich with works from Beethoven, Mozart, John Tavener and Rossini.

Two excellent concerts I will be attending at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich are the Navarra Quartet and Noriko Ogawa. There was no way that I was going to miss seeing Britten Sinfonia at St. Andrew's Hall plus the Kronos Quartet at Norwich Theatre Royal.

Portuguese Fado singer Mariza will be amazing when she performs at Norwich Theatre Royal. She is a global icon. According to The Observer world divas come no classier than Mariza.

The Festival Spiegeltent will be in Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich where I will be catching folk icon Eliza Carthy where she will be entertaining us with her brilliant singing and fiddle playing.

Please check out the festival website or pick up a programme at The Forum and help make this year's festival the best one ever. Remember there are plenty of free outdoor events starting with the festival launch on 6th May 2011 at 5.30pm with Andy Sheppard's Saxophone Massive at Millennium Plain, Norwich.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Scottish Musical Treats!

KT Tunstall rocking Norwich UEA
It was a case of Oh Flower of Scotland this week in Norwich with KT Tunstall headlining Norwich UEA on Monday night with support from Pictish Trail. While on Tuesday night it was the turn of The Phantom Band to headline at Norwich Arts Centre with support from Found.

The UEA LCR was packed on Monday night for the visit of songstress KT Tunstall. In fact Pictish Trail was so keen to be there that he walked from the bus station! With a combination of acoustic guitars and electronic wizardry he suitably entertained us as we waited for the star of the night.

KT Tunstall played a great selection from her new album Tiger Suit released last year, as well as some songs from her previous two studio albums. She's got such great enthusiasm on stage that lifted the whole venue. Other Side of the World was performed with such brilliance proving her star quality. She told us that she loved Norwich and we all loved her back.

It was more experimental on Tuesday night at Norwich Arts Centre. Edinburgh band Found opened the night and were very well received by everyone in the auditorium. Headliners The Phantom Band from Glasgow brought us mix of The Beta Band and Bonnie Prince Billy taking us to a dark cold place. Those who were brave enough to accept their invitation were well rewarded with many sonic delights. Tonight Edinburgh and Glasgow were united as we all celebrated Scottish Indie Music.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Classical take on Folk at Eaton!

St Andrew's Church, Eaton
On Sunday afternoon I attended the latest concert in the Eaton Concert Series at St Andrew's Church, Eaton featuring Adrian Adlam - violin and Thomas Hell - piano.

The concert programme was Liebestod (piano solo) Wagner arr Liszt, Second violin sonata Bartok, Sonato no 1 in G, Opus 78 Brahms and Tzigane Concert Rhapsody Ravel.

Thomas Hell opened the concert with a piano solo of Liebestod. This is a transcript of a Wagner opera by Liszt. This was followed by Bartok's second violin sonata which thrilled and frightened us at the same time. Adrian Adlam demonstrated his fine violin playing. In this piece the piano and violin are treated as separate instruments with dramatic results.

After the interval where we were served delicious apple and orange juice we were taken to a more downbeat place in our heads with Brahms sonata no 1 in G, Opus 78 that was created in memory of his godson. This is a very moving piece of music.

The concert finished in dramatic fashion with Ravel's Tzigane with it's take on Eastern European Folk music. You can feel the Gypsy fiddle playing in the music. This was an excellent afternoon of music that made the audience think as well as being very entertaining.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Violin and bassoon delights at St Andrew's Hall

Hannah Perowne and Selim Aykal thrill at
St Andrew's Hall, Norwich
On Saturday I was at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich for the Academy of St Thomas concert with a programme of Haydn Symphony No.22, Mozart violin concerto No.4, Mozart bassoon concerto and Schubert symphony No.5.

Norwich born Hannah Perowne who is Second Concertmaster of the Komische Oper, Berlin was violin soloist while Selim Aykal, principal bassoonist of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin was bassoon soloist on the evening.

Conductor Christopher Adey made sure that the orchestra gave us a fine performance of Haydn's The Philosopher. It was then left to Hannah Perowne to give us the highlight of the night as she thrilled us on Mozart's violin concerto No.4 with great gusto.

After the interval it was Selim Aykal's turn to show his skills with the bassoon on Mozart's only surviving bassoon concerto. It resulted in a great respond from the audience with plenty of applause and bowing from Selim. The evening was completed with the orchestra giving us a piece of Schubert to make sure the evening ended in a lively manner.  

The Bach Players inspire at The Octagon Chapel

The Bach Players gave a delightful evening of music at
Norwich Octagon Chapel
On Friday night The Bach Players presented us with a delightful evening of music entitled Salve Regina at The Octagon Chapel in Norwich.

The music was from composers of seventeeth century Austria and seventeeth and eighteenth Italy. Johannes Ockeghem, Claudio Monteverdi, Giaches Brumel, Rupert Ignaz Mayr, Giovanni Baptista Pergolesi and Heinrich Biber.

Performing on the night were Sally Bruce-Payne alto, Nicolette Moonen violin, Rachel Isserlis & Anne Schumann violin/viola, Alison McGillivray cello/viola da gamba and Silas Wollston organ.

This was my first visit to The Octagon Chapel and I was very impressed with the venue. The Bach Players all played excellently. Sally Bruce-Payne gave an majestic vocal performance which lifted everyone in the audience. The Bach Players are inspired by the spirit of Baroque and keep the spirit of the music alive completely. I was very inspired by their music which has lead me to finding out more about the composers and this period of music.

The Bach Players are back at The Octagon Chapel on 1st July 2011 for La Grande France. Please attend if you can for a night of delightful and inspiring music.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Schubert's Trout Quintet at lunchtime!

Jacqueline Shave of Britten Sinfonia
bringing Schubert to The Assembly House
Britten Sinfonia were at The Assembly House in Norwich yesterday for a lunchtime concert. The line-up for this lunchtime treat was Jacqueline Shave (violin), Martin Outram (viola), Caroline Dearnley (cello), Roger Linley (double bass) and Huw Watkins (piano).

The programme consisted of Simon Holt's Everything Turns Away and Schubert's Trout Quintet. We also had the bonus of Bach's Air on a G String. A packed Noverre Suite enjoyed a delightful performance from Britten Sinfonia.

It was a pleasure to attend this wonderful event at one of Norwich's finest buildings. This was a great example of living arts in Norwich. A fine city full of fine arts.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

The piano is playing at the Assembly House

The Assembly House, Norwich
I can see the fine building in front of me as I hear the first few bars of Schubert's Trout Quintet. Will it be salmon and cucumber sandwiches or lemon drizzle cake with my cup of tea?

The Assembly House is full of the joys of spring as the sound of the piano can be heard from The Music Room to The Grand Hall with memories of local gentry drinking and dancing.

The Noverre Suite with it's high ceilings and crystal chandeliers is where you can lose yourself in ballroom dancing. Dancing all night to classical sounds in these delightful surroundings.

Norwich has a fine building for a fine city. Where people can meet for food and wine while experiencing the past. The Assembly House is where quality counts and you are guaranteed an amazing time.