City of London Sinfonia, King's Lynn

ALISON CROOSE Concert-goers who ventured outside their usual comfort zone to hear lesser-known works were rewarded with another innovative programme from the CLS residency.

ALISON CROOSE

Concert-goers who ventured outside their usual comfort zone to hear lesser-known works were rewarded with another innovative programme from the CLS residency at the Corn Exchange.

They were introduced to Finnish mezzo-soprano Monica Groop, who gave a particularly sensitive performance of the Berlioz pioneering song cycle, Les Nuits d'ete.

The first song cycle for solo voice and orchestra, six settings of poems which paved the way for later masterpieces, was enjoyed for the successful partnership of singer and musicians with its dramatic and passionate delivery.

The occasion also offered a welcome introduction to Lennox Berkeley's Antiphon for string orchestra, a work influenced by the composer's Catholic faith and characterised by the plainchant melody. An enthusiatic band of CLS supporters gave principal conductor Richard Hickox a rousing reception and were rewarded with two gems. To celebrate the 50th annniversary of the death of Prokofiev, the concert opened with his First Symphony which was executed with great finesse. The audience bathed in the familiarity of Mozart's Symphony No 40 performed with the panache for which the CLS is renowned.

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