Britten Symphonia, Norwich

FRANK CLIFF The principal work in this concert by the Britten Symphonia was Beethoven's Choral symphony, which certainly proved that this ensemble well deserves its recently acquired “Simply The Best” award.

FRANK CLIFF

The principal work in Thursday's concert by the Britten Symphonia was Beethoven's Choral symphony, which certainly proved that this ensemble well deserves its recently acquired “Simply The Best” award.

Conductor Nicholas Cleobury encouraged playing from the orchestra that could compare with almost any other, but, equally, the musical honours belonged to the Oxford Bach Choir for their excellent singing.

Before Beethoven came Martin Butler's Two Rivers for tenor, chorus and orchestra.

Subtle orchestration and elegant choral writing in the first of its two main sections evokes the inner Pearl River in 19th century Hong Kong, before an orchestral interlude links to the grander writing inspired by the Whitman poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.

Here receiving only its second but very polished performance, tenor James Oxley, the choir and orchestra revealed it to be an effective and immediately attractive work.

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t The Britten Symphonia were playing at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich.

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