Remembrance and Hope


St. Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn, Sunday 11th November 2018, 3.30pm

Butterworth The Banks of Green Willow, Rhapsody
Cecil Coles Behind the Lines: 2 - Cortège
Arthur Bliss 5 pieces from Things to Come Suite
Elgar Sospiri
Beethoven Symphony No. 9


During the past four years, as Centenaries have passed, we have had to endure the horrific memories of the Great War. In November this year, we mark the Armistice - but do we celebrate an ending or mourn the terrible consequences? In the first part of our final Remembrance programme, which includes the music of two brilliant young composers killed in the trenches, we experience a journey through the emotions of the time. Beginning in the beauty of the English countryside, we move to the feeling of national pride, through excitement, terror, violence, bleak despair and, finally, desperate heartbreak. In the second part of the concert, moving towards Hope, we are joined by soloists from English National Opera and the King’s Lynn Festival Chorus in perhaps the most inspiring music ever written. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony shows us how we can, with fortitude, courage and brotherhood, win our way from darkness and despair to triumph and hope. In Beethoven’s world, if we all just pull together, the human spirit can conquer all.

Do come and share this monumental emotional journey with us.

We are grateful that this concert is supported by the Norfolk Community Foundation with grants from their "Norfolk World War One" and "Commemorating World War One" funds.

Norfolk Community Foundation logo

Aspects of England

NSO Jan 2019 concert


Alive Corn Exchange, King's Lynn, Sunday 20th January 2019, 3.30pm

Vaughan Williams Symphony No 5 in D
Elgar Sea Pictures Op 37
Arnold English Dances (Sets 1 & 2)


Our vision of England has many faces and this music seeks to express them. In this programme we play quintessentially English music by three composers, each from a different generation: Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Malcolm Arnold. 

In Elgar’s song cycle Sea Pictures, he sets words by five different poets. The music basks in the late-romantic glow of the Edwardian Era and expresses his deep feelings about the Sea and our relationship to it. 

His younger colleague, Ralph Vaughan Williams, like many contemporaries such as Bartok and Villa-Lobos, was determined to use the tunes and harmonies of folk song as a basis for a new musical language. After the terrifying violence of his fourth symphony, his fifth comes like a healing balm, more reminiscent of the Fantasy on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Full of peace and quietude, it contains some of his most radiantly beautiful music.

Post War England is represented by Malcolm Arnold, a composer often better known for his lighter music. The two sets of English Dances contain a wide and richly diverse variety of styles from the hauntingly melancholy to the hilarious and will bring the concert to a riotous close.

Majestic, brooding, cheeky and achingly beautiful…

Journeys to Paradise

NSO May 2019 concert


St. Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn, Sunday 19th May 2019, 3.30pm

Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4 in A "Italian"
Delius The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Takemitsu Green - November Steps No. 2
Elgar In the South


Our two major works reflect the feelings of Northern European composers, Mendelssohn and Elgar, on experiencing the bright sunshine of Italy. From 1829 to 1831, Mendelssohn embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe. The mists and mystery of Scotland gave us both the Scottish Symphonyand The Hebrides Overture. It was Italy, though, which gave him the inspiration for what he called “the jolliest piece I have ever done…”, his vivid and vivacious Italian Symphony. Elgar’s overture In the South is a substantial tone poem. Subtitled Alassio, it was written during a holiday in that town on the Italian Riviera. Not only is it full of the sights and colours that he saw and delighted in, it is also imbued with a sense of the history of the place, “the conflict of the armies long ago…the contrast of the ruin and the shepherd”. This is Elgar at the height of his powers. The Japanese composer, Toru Takemitsu, is perhaps best known for his film scores. However, his concert music is also breathtaking and wonderful. In 1967 he hid himself away in his garden with the scores of Debussy, trying to fathom the secret of his timeless balance and sensuality. One of the results was the ravishing Green, a tiny and exquisite jewel of a piece. Delius also gives us a garden in his opera A Village Romeo and Juliet. However, this one, The Paradise Garden, is a pub which our star-crossed lovers, Sali and Vreli, go to on their journey to death and eternal love.

Tickets are available from the King's Lynn Corn Exchange Box Office - click here

America – A New World of Music


St. Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn, Sunday 24th March 2019, 3.30pm

Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Gershwin Piano Concerto in F, soloist Viv McLean
Glass Company
Bernstein West Side Story: Symphonic Dances


As the 19th Century turned into the 20th and music in Europe was falling into turmoil, there appeared a new kid on the block – America. Many of its composers were migrants from the Old World who enthusiastically embraced their chance to make a new start. 

The first major contribution made by America to world music was, of course, Jazz, and many “classical” composers absorbed its rhythms and sounds and used them as the basis for their music. One of the most famous of these was George Gershwin, whose Piano Concerto in F combines perfectly the energy of Tin Pan Alley wih the richness of the Blues. Even more wildly abandoned is Bernstein’s music to West Side Story with its mix of Latin dance and 50's swing. 

Aaron Copland was deeply affected by the work of Nationalist composers in Europe, such as Bartok and Vaughan Williams and, like them, set about creating a musical language out of the building blocks of his folk traditions. His Fanfare for the Common Man has become an icon.

Another great contribution which America made came much later, towards the end of the 20th Century. This was minimalism, with its bewitching, hypnotically repeating patterns. Perhaps the most famous minimalist composer is Philip Glass, whose string piece Company was written as incidental music to Samuel Beckett’s play of the same name. 

This programme includes some of the best of American music which, with its vibrancy, energy and vivid colour, has played such a major part in shaping the music of today.

Summer Concert

NSO Summer 2019 poster


Update, 30 May 2019: 

It is with sadness that we report that our leader, Philippa Barton, will be indisposed for our June 2019 concert. Philippa broke a finger recently, and unfortunately will not be recovered in time to play. We send Philippa our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

We are therefore very grateful that Paula Muldoon has agreed to join us as guest leader for the concert. Please see News: Guest leader, June 2019 concert for further details.


St. Nicholas' Chapel, King's Lynn, Sunday 23rd June 2019, 3.30pm

Smetana Ma Vlast - Vltava
Dvořák               Czech Suite Op 39
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade


Our light-hearted season finale.  A relaxed concert to close our 2018-19 season and a chance to meet members of the orchestra. Friends of the NSO are eligible for two free tickets.

It is said that “every Czech is born with a violin under their pillow”. Certainly, the music of the two greatest Czech composers of the C19th, Smetana and Dvorak, seems to bear this out. It is radiant and warm, melodic and lyrical and seems to embody the both beauty and tranquillity of the Czech countryside and the amiability and good humour of its people.

Smetana, the elder of the two, was inspired to create a Czech repertoire of music in as many forms as he could. As well as operas in many genres, he wrote his great set of symphonic poems, Ma Vlast (My Country), and the first of these, Vltava (The Moldau) is perhaps his best-known work. It depicts a journey down the great river Vltava from its two small, interweaving springs to its greatness in Prague, passing a wedding, mermaids, castles and rapids on the way.

Dvorak was also deeply inspired by the music of his home but, after meeting and befriending Brahms, was determined to compose in a way which would bring success in the wider world. To this end he wrote in traditional forms – his many symphonies, quartets and concertos are great favourites. However, much of his most characteristic music is contained in the Serenades, Suites, Dances and Rhapsodies. The Czech Suite resembles closely his two great Serenades and is redolent with folk music.

The major work in the concert must be one of the most popular orchestral pieces ever written. Rimsky-Korsakov was one of the greatest orchestrators, second only, perhaps, to Ravel in his ability to dazzle and seduce with sound. His Suite Scheherazade is based on One Thousand and One Nights with the solo violin as the voice of Shahrazad, telling the king stories each evening to save her life. It is sensuous, threatening, exhilarating and majestic.

Draw up a pew and bask in the warmth of this great music on a summer’s afternoon.

Tickets are available from the King's Lynn Corn Exchange Box Office - click here