Norwich Philharmonic Society is tuning up for a great season of music
- Credit: Simon Finlay Photography
Norwich Philharmonic Society is tuning up for its new season of music which starts with a concert this Saturday. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more.
Norwich Philharmonic Society has been bringing music to our fine city for more than 175 years, and its latest season kicks off at St Andrew's Hall this Saturday with a concert featuring Holst's The Cloud Messenger and Sibelius' First Symphony.
The event is the first of five major Norwich Phil concerts for audiences to look forward to at the historic city venue throughout the 2017/18 season.
Michael Nutt, chairman of the Norwich Phil orchestra sub-committee, said the concerts will feature a mix of both well known and less familiar works.
He said: 'Clouds and heavenly skies are the striking motif for this season's brochure of concerts by the Norwich Philharmonic Society – from inspiration for a little-known masterpiece by Gustav Holst to Mahler's vision of the hereafter, his 9th Symphony, and Brahms' divine Song of Destiny.
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'And that motif suitably reflects a whole season of uplifting and inspirational music that promises to move audiences.'
Roger Holden, managing partner of Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers which is sponsoring Norwich Philharmonic Society for a sixth season, said: 'As ever, the programme is an emotions-stirring mix of inspirational masterpieces from generations of great musical maestros. I am delighted to note the Phil is once again committed to familiarising Norwich audiences with some lesser known works, alongside pieces which are tried and tested favourites.'
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Below are the key details for each of the five concerts at St Andrew's Hall.
• Saturday, November 4, 7.30pm - Holst and Sibelius
The first concert will feature Gustav Holst's The Cloud Messenger, said to be the English composer's most neglected of his large scale choral works and inspired by his fascination with Sanskrit literature. This magical setting of a classical Sanskrit poem tells of a spirit in exile who enlists the help of a passing cloud to carry a message of love across the Himalayas to his lonely wife. Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus will be joined by mezzo soprano soloist Deborah Miles-Johnson for the performance.
Also on the programme is the First Symphony of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The concert's conductors will be David Dunnett and Matthew Andrews.
• Saturday, December 9, 7.30pm - Mahler
Following performances in recent years of Gustav Mahler's 1st, 2nd, 5th and 8th Symphonies, Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra will this season perform Mahler's 9th Symphony, his last complete symphony. As the Austrian composer mourned his daughter's untimely death and approached his own, the symphony is a meditation on mortality and also the beauty and wonder of life.
Matthew Andrews will conduct the orchestra.
• Tuesday, December 19, 7.30pm - Christmas concert
Norwich Philharmonic Chorus, conducted by David Dunnett, will be joined by Cawston Band for a Family Christmas Concert.
• Saturday, February 3, 7.30pm - Kabalevsky, Rachmaninov and Martinu
Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra will share the stage with young British pianist Alexander Ullman in Sergei Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto. The Russian composer's challenging concerto was the focus of the film Shine which is based on the story of Australian pianist David Helfgott.
The concert will also include the 3rd Symphony of Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, written in the final days of the Second World War, and the Overture Colas Breugnon from a largely forgotten opera by Russian composer Dmitry Kabalevsky.
Matthew Andrews will be the conductor for the concert.
• Saturday, March 17 - Brahms and Mendelssohn
Norwich Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra will perform music by two of the greatest choral writers of the 19th century - Johannes Brahms' beautiful Song of Destiny and Felix Mendelssohn's uplifting Symphony-Cantata Lobgesang or Hymn of Praise, otherwise known as his 2nd Symphony. Soloists in the Mendelssohn performance will be soprano Ruth Holton and tenor Christopher Steele. David Dunnett will conduct the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.
• Tickets for each concert cost £11-£17 (£7 for people aged under 26). Season tickets, covering all the concerts except the Christmas concert, cost £33-£51. Tickets can be booked at St George's Music Shop, in George's Street, Norwich, by calling 01603 626414, or via www.stgeorgesmusic.co.uk and www.norwichphil.org.uk