Spectacular start for concert series

Southwold Concert Series, St Edmunds Church, Southwold, October 23.THE spectacular medieval architecture of St Edmunds Church formed the impressive background to the first of a series of concerts in Southwold.

Southwold Concert Series, St Edmunds Church, Southwold, October 23.

THE spectacular medieval architecture of St Edmunds Church formed the impressive background to the first of a series of concerts in Southwold.

More than 200 attended the concert, in aid of the Suffolk Foundation, which saw the breath-taking world premiere of Nathan Williamson's Crystal for Piano Quartet 2008

With the composer, who is also the series director, on piano, the work's fizzing energy was seized upon by Arisa Fujita on violin, Max Baillie on viola and Matthijs Broersma on cello.

A hugely varied programme followed - beginning with a riveting combination of the music of Benjamin Britten with the words of WH Auden sung, in all its beautiful discord, by soprano Elinor Jane Moran.

A slightly amended programme of English songs was selected to fit the new baritone John Savournin (called in to replace James Robinson).

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The selection varied from the emotional Silent Noon, set by Vaughan Williams to the words of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, to the rousing sea shanty Drake's Drum by Stanford.

Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat major Op 47 allowed the audience to enjoy the varied tones and shades of the warm lyrical piece.

Schumann was in his early 30s when he wrote it and the young musicians really brought the composer's youth and vigour into their playing.

After the interval, the programme moved to a well-selected medley of arias and duets from Mozart's operas. The interaction between Savournin and Elinor Jane Moran was so spectacular it provoked applause even before the end of Là ci darem la manoa.

Appreciative beams as the audience exited the church suggested the concert organisers, including sponsors Spring Advertising, had scored a direct hit.

Roll on the second in the inspirational series - expected early in 2009.

Georgina Wroe

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