Academy of St Thomas

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich


St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Maintaining their reputation for interesting programming, the orchestra presented an all-string concert on Saturday evening although, perversely, they started with uncharacteristic nervousness with the Swedish composer Dag Wiren's Serenade for Strings.

It wasn't helped by a sparse audience - presumably most of their supporters are rugby fans - which made them sound rather remote, a problem quickly overcome.

Conductor Christopher Adey nursed them through in his usual emphatic manner and the piece progressed with Scandinavian sharpness. Later, Dvorak's similarly titled piece was a joy.

Joshua Ellicott, a classical English tenor with plenty of body at the top of his register, was the soloist in Finzi's cantata Dies natalis, with its thoughtful words from the 17th century mystic Thomas Traherne.

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Adopted Norfolkman Sir Malcolm Arnold's Symphony for Strings concluded the programme. It had a sharp edge to it and was an accomplished performance.

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