Sunday 23 December 2012

Four Sea Interludes at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich

On the evening of Saturday 8th December 2012 I attended the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra's concert at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich which featured conductor Matthew Andrews and pianist Richard Uttley. The programme consisted of Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes - Britten, Piano Concerto No.2 - Rachmaninov and Symphony No.7 - Dvorak.

Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes composed in 1945 is from his opera, Peter Grimes, which captures the unique spirit of the composer's beloved East Coast. This performance formed part of Familiar Fields a celebration across Norfolk and Suffolk of Britten's life and music in his centenary year. The Sea Interludes were developed from the six orchestral pieces that introduce the acts and link scenes in the opera. Besides being evocative portraits of the sea at different times of day and in different weather conditions, they are also psychological studies that chronicle the dramatic confrontation between Grimes and the townspeople of Aldeburgh, where the drama is set.

Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 is one of the most popular pieces in the classical repertoire. Brilliant young pianist Richard Uttley took on the epic challenge of this great romantic masterpiece, which film fans will recognise as the emotional soundtrack to Brief Encounter. This piece was composed in 1900 after the composer recovered from a period of depression.

Dvorak's Symphony No.7 was written for the London Philharmonic Society in 1884 and was a wild success at its premiere with its showcase of sweet melodies and dramatic orchestral flourishes. This piece fulfilled his apparent aim to prove himself more then a purely nationalist composer.

This was a wonderful concert at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich which included the performance of Four Sea Interludes as a tribute to Benjamin Britten in his centenary year. Richard Uttley played a splendid Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 while Dvorak's Symphony No.7 was a brilliant finish to the concert.

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