Norwich Pops Orchestra

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Hall, Norwich


> St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

“Classic Hits From Stage and Screen” were just what the doctor ordered on a dark wintry night. With verve and enthusiasm, the Norwich Pops Orchestra, conducted by the cheerful Geoff Davidson and led by Fiona Hutchins, offered an appealing programme full of colour, romance and nostalgia.

The variety was amazing. Hamish MacCunn's charming and picturesque Land of the Mountain and the Flood transported us to the Highlands.

Its pastoral style was all the more convincing in contrast with a highly dramatic episode from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.

The Adagio from Khachat-urian's Spartacus came across as a splendid evocation of wide vistas, and Henry Mancini's Moon River flowed by in fine style.

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David Neil Jones was the piano soloist in Addinsell's highly-charged Warsaw Concerto, the theme tune from Dangerous Moonlight, the Anton Walbrook film that tugged at people's heartstrings in wartime Britain.

Singers from the Norfolk & Norwich Operatic Society were in good voice in songs from Carousel and Les Miserables. Sarah Browne sang I Dreamed a Dream, and On My Own was the choice of Stephanie Moore, fresh from her success in Jesus Christ Superstar. The Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly, had its touch of tragic melancholy beneath a beautifully gentle understated melody.

Self-confident, not to say downright proud, the Dambusters March came across with great spirit.

What could possibly follow that without seeming an anti-climax?

Why, the Devil's Gallop, the helter-skelter signature tune of Dick Barton that used to make every schoolboy's heart beat faster more than 50 years ago.