Review: Norwich Philharmonic Society at St Andrew’s Hall

Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus performing at a previous concert at St Andrews Hall in Nor

Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus performing at a previous concert at St Andrews Hall in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant

Norwich Philharmonic Society opened its 177th season on Saturday evening at St Andrew's Hall with an ambitious programme performed with skill and panache.

Conducted by Matthew Andrews and led by Elizabeth Marjoram, the Orchestra revelled in the stirring contrasts of Sibelius's First Symphony, making the rhythmic exuberance of its third movement especially thrilling. Rich instrumental colour was also a major feature when the players joined with the chorus of 120 voices in The Cloud Messenger, a work by Gustav Holst that is rarely heard these days. Under David Dunnett and with Deborah Miles-Johnson as the well-focused mezzo soloist, the singers entered readily and with confidence into the changing moods of this attractive setting of an ancient Indian poem that portrays a man's longing for his wife against the natural and spiritual background of towering mountains and the mighty Ganges.

Christopher Smith


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