Philharmonia Orchestra

MICHAEL DRAKE King's Lynn Corn Exchange (King's Lynn Festival)

MICHAEL DRAKE

King's Lynn Corn Exchange (King's Lynn Festival)

And so another festival came to its finale on Saturday evening with a popular programme from this world-acclaimed orchestra. The precision of the pacy and chattering strings - first and second violins, violas, cellos and bass in order - offered an exciting opening in Smetana's Overture to the Bartered Bride.

Greig's Piano Concerto in A Minor does not seem to feature so often these days but the performance by the Bulgarian soloist Vesselin Stanev was one to savour.

I can never recall seeing a conductor keep such a watchful eye on a soloist and there was literally a harmonious repartee between them as Shuntaro Sato directed his forces from the emphatic opening chords until the piano had the final say in the last few bars. An icy cadenza and languid orchestral introduction with the soloist following suit were features of the first two movements with the finale being in turn dashing, fresh and crisp.

The orchestra moved to darker hues in Rimsky Korsakov's colourful symphonic suite, Scheherazade.

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From the turbulent seascape to contrasting calm encountered by Sinbad to the concluding shipwreck this was musical story telling with some solos of the highest quality from the leader, James Clark between orchestral frenzy.

A lively and exuberant ending to the delight of festival director Ambrose Miller who classed the fortnight. as did I. among the best “and within budget”.

Can't ask for much more, except the same again next year.

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