Bury St Edmunds Festival: Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra’s lark soars

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St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Wednesday

There could not have been a better programme nor a lovelier setting for Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra’s official launch concert.

For most, the highlight was Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Solo violinist Thomas Gould’s lyrical, soaring performance was unforgettable and the awed silence as the last note faded was as telling as the applause which followed.

Including Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings was an inspired decision. How fortunate the capacity audience was to hear tenor Benjamin Hulett and horn player Martin Owen.

The prologue and epilogue are performed without using the horn’s valves, adding a different character. Forget the funny man of the orchestra tag: Owen coaxes range and colour from this instrument that is rarely heard.

The Suffolk Philharmonic has already been working and performing in the community, part of its ethos. An impressive group of young musicians from Suffolk Schools joined it for movements from Vaughan Williams’ Concerto Grosso. CH