Ex-Blue Peter presenter's new role

City of London Sinfonia @ Corn Exchange, King's Lynn

City of London Sinfonia @ Corn Exchange, King's Lynn


Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves turned his hand to another form of entertainment when he narrated brand-new verses for the Carnival of the Animals.

Basil Swift's witty and pertinent introductory verses to Saint-Saens "grand zoological fantasy" were given their first performance during the latest treat served up as part of the CLS residency at Lynn.

The association has been most fruitful, as demonstrated by another highly entertaining programme beginning with Benjamin Britten's exciting display-piece, Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge.

The tribute comprises variations which each has its own mood and tempo relating to Bridge's personality and the work enabled conductor Richard Hickox to fully demonstrate the string orchestra's multi-faceted technique.

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The new verses for Saint-Saens' colourful picture of Carnival of the Animals were delivered with humour and aplomb by the experienced television presenter.

From the clarinet's cuckoo to the cello's swan and the xylophone's bone-rattling fossils the work – featuring pianists Paul Lewis and Tim Horton – could be enjoyed anew.

The programme continued to feature more modern music and Paul Lewis performed Britten's Young Apollo.

The Serenade for String Orchestra displayed Elgar's distinctive pastoral style, in contrast to the more innovative Shostakovich concerto for piano, trumpet and string orchestra in which Paul Lewis teamed up with Nicholas Betts (trumpet) to bring the concert to a striking conclusion.

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