Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Halll, Norwich


St Andrew's Halll, Norwich

In the King Lear overture Hector Berlioz used a wide range of orchestral colour, particularly the tones of a plaintive oboe, to capture the varied moods of Shakespeare's tragedy, and his music brought out intimate emotions in the pensive moments by setting them against the grander, more majestic episodes. Here was some fine opportunities for the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra.

It was led by Dominic Hopkins and, on this occasion, directed by Jacques Cohen. One of his particular successes was allowing the heavy brass to make a full contribution without ever letting it become too dominant. That is an important part of the art of performing in St Andrew's Hall.

The Firebird Suite came across vividly. The range of dynamics was extremely impressive. It was good too to be able to savour the more traditional Slavonic elements in the score along with Stravinsky's innovations.

Comparison with the Russian composer's ballet music did not entirely flatter the otherwise admirable strength and solidity of Dvorak's Seventh Symphony.

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The lilt of the third movement made a pleasant contrast with the flow of the second with its gentle conclusion.

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