Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE

A popular programme and large audience failed to provide early inspiration for the orchestra's strings on Saturday evening as they opened with Grieg's Holberg Suite.

Cello duets were nicely handled but there seemed little conviction in an overall rather untidy performance.

Turn the page for full orchestra and Elgar's concert overture, In the South, and from the opening brassy fanfares this was a different ensemble - and not just larger. More tone painting of Italian landscapes than a tone poem, scenes were confidently portrayed under guest conductor David Curtis.

After Name Two Famous Belgians, what else did Carl Orff compose? Not a lot, but Carmina Burana remains the constant. Here, the chorus made an immediate and forceful impact in a highly rhythmic start - continued with well-balanced and fluid singing.

Of the three young soloists, Amy Haworth was the most impressive. Tenor Thomas Hobbs and the now locally-based David McKee (baritone) coped easily with the extraordinary ranges as chorus and orchestra expressed the emotions in joy, drinking and loving in an exciting performance.

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Michael Drake

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