Popular programme pulls crowd

Norwich Philharmonic @ St Andrew's Hall, Norwich. By Frank Cliff.

Norwich Philharmonic @ St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

By Frank Cliff

Not a single empty seat in St Andrew's Hall on Saturday for the Norwich Phil's unashamedly popular programme. Perhaps there was also anticipation of what might be expected of the soloist, violinist Prya Mitchell, one of the brightest stars in the young violinist firmament.

Her performance of the Max Bruch concerto was dazzling; a wonderful display of technical virtuosity. The sound was rich and lyrical and her performance exuded a freshness and vitality.

It was the high point in an excellent concert which had begun with Rossini's Barber of Seville overture, in which conductor Julian Webb encouraged crisp playing from an orchestra on good form from the first bar.

Some fine wind solos here and sonorous strings in Sibelius' Romance in C, though Webb's reading was perhaps a touch pedestrian for a work which is scored so imaginatively.

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However, he produced a fine reading of the major work of the programme; Tchaikovsky's Pathetique symphony.

It was a mark of the quality of the orchestral playing that, despite spontaneous applause after an exhilarating performance of the march, the warm and sensitive playing of the final adagio produced no sense of anti-climax.