Tuesday 24 January 2012

Reflections at Norwich Playhouse

On Saturday 21st January 2012 I made my way to Norwich Playhouse for The Paul Cross Memorial Concert presented by The Norfolk and Norwich Novi Sad Association. The concert was entitled Reflections and featured a piano recital from Rita Kinka. The concert raised money for the Milan Petrovic School for children with special needs in Novi Sad.

The programme consisted of An die ferne Geliebte (to the distant lover) transcription of the songs - Beethoven - Liszt, Gondoliera from Annees de Pelerinage, Italy 2nd year - Liszt, Jeux d'eaux - Liszt, Legende no.2 St. Franciscus marchant sur les flots - Liszt, Echoes - Mokranjac and Pictures at an Exhibition - Mussorgsky.

Serbian Rita Kinka gave a brilliant performance that delighted everyone in attendance at Norwich Playhouse on an emotional evening. The highlight of the recital had to be Echoes, a piece which is reflective and gentle composed by Vasilije Mokranjac who is probably the most famous Serbian composer.

Trio at Norwich Assembly House

On Friday 20th January 2012 I attended the Britten Sinfonia at Lunch concert at Norwich Assembly House which featured works for oboe, bassoon and piano. There was a large crowd at this historic venue for a colourful and varied programme that showed the full range of musical possibilities with this combination of instruments.

With a line-up of Nicholas Daniel - oboe, Sarah Burnett - bassoon and Huw Watkins - piano Britten Sinfonia brought us a programme that consisted of Trio Sonata No.24 - Handel, Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon - Andre Previn, The Homing Call - Elspeth Brooke and Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano - Poulenc.

Half way through the final piece of music being played a member of the audience collapsed and unfortunately brought the concert to an early finish. As you would expect the music played was of the highest standard and was the world premiere of Elspeth Brooke's The Homing Call. This was a jazz influenced concert and showed Britten Sinfonia's commitment to playing in Norwich.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Ades conducts Ades at The Barbican

On Sunday 15th January 2012 I marked my birthday by attending the London Symphony Orchestra's concert at The Barbican which featured Thomas Ades - conductor, Nicolas Hodges - piano and Toby Spence - tenor. This was a concert when Ades conducted Ades on a wonderful evening in the City of London.

I made my way from Norwich to London by train via Cambridge and after a tea of thai red curry, aubergine, butternut squash and oyster mushroom, jasmine rice with flat bread and mango pickle at The Barbical Foodhall I eagerly looked forward to the concert.

The programme consisted of Hidd'n Blue - Francisco Coll, In Seven Days for Piano and Orchestra - Thomas Ades, Selection from Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Mahler and Tevot - Thomas Ades. To mark the start of 2012, the year of the London Olympics the London Symphony Orchestra has chosen to feature British music and the work of living British composers.

This was the world premiere of a revised Hidd'n Blue from Francisco Coll who is a current pupil of Thomas Ades. The composer described his work as 3D music for a virtuoso orchestra of the 21st century. This was an exciting start to the programme with a piece that was full of colour and the union of opposites.

In Seven Days was originally conceived as a joint work in collaboration with film-maker and video artist Tal Rosner. Tonight it was performed by piano and orchestra without the visuals. The piece has seven movements reflecting the seven days of Biblical creation. On the first day God created heaven and earth, and light and darkness. By day four we have stars, the sun and the moon. On day seven we reach contemplation.

Between 1887 and 1901 Gustav Mahler set two dozen poems from Des Knaben Wunderhorn which translate to The Boy's Wonder Horn, a collection of folk-style verse by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. Tonight we experienced a selection of these with tenor Toby Spence.

The concert concluded with Tevot which is another Thomas Ades composition. The Hebrew word tevot is the ordinary musical term for bars and can also mean words. It appears just twice in the Bible. For the ark built by Noah and for the reed basket made by Moses' mother to float him on the Nile.

The highlight of the concert for me was Tevot which gave us a magnificent uplifting sonic experience to crown a night of splendid music. The Barbican is a great place to be on your birthday especially with a programme of brilliant music. Thomas Ades and the London Symphony Orchestra are a winning combination.  

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Bank Holiday Organ Recital at Norwich Cathedral

On Bank Holiday Monday 2nd January 2012 I attended the Norwich Cathedral Organ Recital from the Cathedral's Organ Scholar Kris Thomsett which attracted a large audience including some from the faraway land of Kent.

The programme consisted of In Dulci Jubilo BWV 729 - Bach, Imperial March - Elgar, Fantasia Ut re mi so fa - Byrd, La Nativite Du Seigneur - V - Les Enfants De Dieu - Messian, From the Orgelbuchlien: Herr Christ, Der Ein'Ge Gottes-Sohn BWV 601, Lob Sei Dem Allmachtigen Gott BWV 602, Von Himmel Hoch, Da Komm' Ich Her BWV 606 - Bach, Noel etranger - D'Aquin, Passacaglia in D BuxWV 161 - Buxtehude, Hymne d'actions de graces Te Deum (from Trois paraphases gregoriennes Op.5) - Langlais and Festmusick from Vag a leve (Dare to live) - Takle.

This was a wonderful and varied programme that thrilled everyone in attendance at Norwich Cathedral at the beginning of a new year. A time to celebrate and as the closing piece states dare to live. 

New Year celebrations at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Two hours later I made my way to St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich for the Norwich Pops Orchestra's New Year's Day Concert which featured a programme of traditional Viennese favourites. Conductor for the afternoon was Geoff Davidson who insists that Andre Rieu is after his spot but while he can still raise his baton the Austrian Waltz King will not grace this stage.

The programme consisted of Estudiantina Waltz - Waldteufel, Overture Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna - Von Suppe, Egyptian March - Johann Strauss II, Waltz Wine, Women and song - Johann Strauss II, Annen Polka - Johann Strauss II, Ballsirenen Waltz from The Merry Widow - Johann Strauss II, Schnellpost Polka - Johann Strauss II, Polka from Schwanda the Bagpiper - Weinberger, Gold and Silver Waltz - Lehar, Scene and Waltz from Swan Lake - Tchaikovsky, Leichtes Blut Polka Schnell - Johann Strauss II, Quodlibet A Guid New Year - Arr Geoff Davidson, Waltz On the Beautiful Blue Danube - Johann Strauss II and (Encore) Radetsky March - Johann Strauss II.

This was the sixth time that the Orchestra have brought the flavour of a traditional Viennese concert to New Year's Day at St. Andrew's Hall which was packed and resulted in the venue selling out of programmes. The concert was full of fun and humour as Geoff Davidson entertained us between the music. We all left the Hall humming the tunes with smiles on our faces looking forward to the new year.

New Year's Day Recital at St. Peter Mancroft Church

On Sunday 1st January 2012 there was no better way to welcome the new year then to attend the Mancroft Music New Year's Day Recital at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. This Organ Recital was given by Julian Haggett who is Organist at this historic Norwich Church.

The programme consisted of Praeludium in g No.1 - Tunder, Hymnus Rex Christe factor omnium (O Christ, our King, Creator, Lord) - Praetorius, Motet coloration Alleluja, laudem dicite deo nostro (Allejuia, declare praise to our God) - Scheidemann, Piece d'Orgue BWV 572 - Bach, Sonata No.II in d - Mendelssohn and 5 Chorale Variations on: Herr Jesus hat ein Gartchen - Peeters.

This was a wonderful celebration of Northern European Organ Music to bring in the new year. The Church looked beautiful with displays of colourful flowers as we were treated to a splendid programme that included Heinrich Scheidemann's Allejuia, declare praise to our God.