Harper Brass Quintet

Memorial Hall, Dereham

Memorial Hall, Dereham

Celebrating their 10th anniversary and the return of the Dereham Festival after a break of more than 20 years, the Harper Brass Quintet descended on the people of Dereham.

The ensemble have an enviable skill - they play with an exacting precision and wonderfully controlled articulation that perfectly suits the music of Gabrieli and Monteverdi.

The interwoven lines of the music were well placed, the group blends well and are sensitive to each passing theme. An arrangement of Tudor music introduced the tuba as a surprisingly lyric solo instrument. A quality often missed, this was a rare treat.

Although containing the same precision and quality of playing Arnold's First Brass Quintet and Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals lacked the life and characterful vibrancy they required.

Bernstein's America from West Side Story was similarly excellently played but seemed to lack slightly the dance-like flair for which it is so well known.

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Finishing with Gershwin's Puttin' On the Ritz the group finally came alive giving a captivating performance of this classic, keeping their technical proficiency and adding to it the energetic figure needed.

The Dereham Festival runs until May 20 and includes many varied activities and concerts worth checking out.