London Mozart Players join Norwich school’s spring concert

London Mozart Players who will be joining Norwich School's Choral Society for their latest concert.

London Mozart Players who will be joining Norwich School's Choral Society for their latest concert. Picture: Benjamin Ealovega - Credit: Archant

Norwich School's Choral Society has joined forces with the prestigious orchestra for their latest concert that includes a performance of a piece by the choir's musical director.

Richard Allain, the present director of music, will conduct a performance of his Vespers (Songs of t

Richard Allain, the present director of music, will conduct a performance of his Vespers (Songs of the Sea) as part of the concert. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Norwich School's Choral Society, one of the largest choruses in the region, has joined forces with London Mozart Players for their latest concert.

Each year, adults and pupils combine to give a performance in St Andrew's Hall in Norwich. This year, they are combining forces with the world-renowned London Mozart Players to perform Vivaldi's Gloria, Mozart's Ave Verum, Barber's haunting Adagio for Strings, and Vespers, a cantata by the choir's current musical director, Richard Allain.

Founded by Harry Blech in 1949 as the UK's first chamber orchestra, the London Mozart Players has long enjoyed international renown for its outstanding live performances and CD recordings. Through their LMP Voyager project they have also been working with schools and communities for over 25 years.

Norwich School has a long history of nurturing young instrumentalists; for this concert, senior players will form part of the ensemble and perform alongside the London Mozart Players. The invitation has also been sent out to young string players from other schools, and the intention is that they too will join the LMP onstage for the performance on March 15.

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Norwich School Adult Choral Society was started in 1983 by Colin Dowdeswell, the director of music at the school. As well as performing the great pieces of classical choral music – The Messiah, The Creation, Requiems by Mozart, Fauré and Brahms for example – the repertoire has also included several Haydn Masses, and a varied selection of shorter pieces by Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Parry to name but a few.

Present-day composers have not been neglected; several works by John Rutter and Karl Jenkins have been performed and in 1998 the programme included pieces by two pupils of the school – James Guthrie and Robert Houssart.

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Richard Allain, the present director of music, is a renowned composer in his own right as well as his role at Norwich School and the concert will include a performance of his Vespers (Songs of the Sea) which he will be conducting.

Deeply committed to music education, together with his brother Thomas, Allain has written several cantatas for young voices. One such collaboration, Jake and the Right Genie was commissioned by the Surrey Millennium Youth Festival. It has since been performed by over 10,000 school children and, on one occasion, an entire Yorkshire village.

Vespers (Songs of the Sea) was originally commissioned by the Southend Festival Chorus and scored for mixed choir, the Southend Children's Choirs, strings, percussion, organ and handbells.

With their connections with the coast, texts associated with the sea form a significant part of the work which is otherwise loosely based around the sequence of hymns and psalms found within the service of Vespers, the penultimate service of the monastic day.

The work was revised for a performance by the Sherringham & Cromer Choral Society concert in 2015, which also featured the London Mozart Players. The texts are drawn from a range of sources, including The Bible, the Gilgamesh Flood Tablet, Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Anglo Saxon poem The Seafarer.

Richard Allain said: 'The Adult Choral Society have asked me more than once if we could perform a piece of mine. A couple of years ago, the Sherringham & Cromer Choral Society gave a concert of my Vespers with the London Mozart Players and we decided that we would try and get the LMP to come and play for us. Happily, they agreed. The choir goes from strength to strength each year, and we have tackled some demanding repertoire in recent years. On Wednesday, 200 singers ranging in age from 12 to 92 will take to the stage.'

• Norwich School's Choral Society: Spring Concert, St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, March 15, 7.30pm, £10 on the door, 01603 628319,

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