An Evening of Classics for Pleasure

MICHAEL DRAKE Dereham Festival


There was no time to lose interest in Wednesday's evening programme in the resurrected festival with nearly two dozen items performed by a quintet of local artists.

It was relatively informal as compere and poet Colin Traverse introduced them - later he read some of his own poetic observations in animated style with "Pussykins" being particularly am-meeow-sing.

Accompanying pianist Olwyn Brough had few rests (and surprisingly, no solo spot herself) as she was first joined in Fauré's Après un Rêve by the sure, bright tone of flautist Sarah King and then Catherine Baxter (clarinet) whose playing always flowed in style despite suspect tuning in excerpts from Finzi's Five Bagatelles.

The two wind players also made a compatible duo in Borodin's Nocturne from Prince Egor - which many years ago reached the heights as a pop song.

Mezzo soprano Elisabeth Gould Traverse pleasantly sang a number of diverse items, always with fine diction, of which Schubert's Ave Maria was the most sensitive.

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The pattern continued until after a rather long poetic precursor, the joyful Ensemble, which closely followed an outstanding performance of the first movement from Mozart's Flute Concerto No 2, and, heralding summer perhaps, the traditional "Lark in the clear air," to end a popular concert.

Mike Drake

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