Review: Aurora Orchestra, St Andrew’s Hall

Aurora Orchestra. Photo: Nick Rutter.

Aurora Orchestra. Photo: Nick Rutter. - Credit: Nick Rutter

Known for its adventurous programming, where classical music rubs shoulders with jazz and almost anything else, a concert by the Aurora is an exciting and invariably stimulating event.

Joined by the virtuoso jazz band, Man Overboard, their programme produced some imaginative pairing, showing the affinity of what might appear to be totally different styles.

Under their conductor, Nicholas Collon, a suite of dances from Rameau's Opera-Ballet Les Indes Galantes was stylishly performed, the jazzy dotted quavers of the final Entree des Sauvages merging seamlessly into Iain Farrington's splendid arrangement of Duke Ellington's Jubilee Stomp.

Likewise, the supreme virtuosity required, and brilliantly executed by the Aurora's leader, Thomas Gould, for Paganini's 5th Caprice for solo violin, was matched by Man Overboard and the Aurora in Tiger Rag.

There was atmospheric singing from Louisa Jones, accompanied by Man Overboard in Travellin' All Alone, one of Billy Holiday's signature tunes, and in St James Infirmary, a folk song made famous by Louis Armstrong, while the Aurora under Collon gave a crisp rhythmic account of Stravinsky's chamber orchestral concerto, Dumbarton Oaks, and Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, in another fine arrangement by Iain Farrington, provided the splendid finale.

A great evening of wonderful virtuoso playing from a rich and varied repertoire.

Frank Cliff

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The concert was part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

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