Nordic tour around church

Robert Thompson

Robert Thompson - Credit: Archant

Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto – popular even before Morecambe and Wise famously put “the right notes in the wrong order” – will provide the centrepiece of the St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s spring concert next Saturday, May 9.

The concert at 7.30pm in St Saviour’s Church, St Albans, features favourite works by Scandinavian composers.

The concerto, from its dramatic opening to its finale inspired by a Norwegian folk dance, is among the best-loved of all works for piano and orchestra.

The pianist with the orchestra (SASO) will be Robert Thompson, whose performances as both a soloist and chamber musician have been heard at such prestigious venues as London’s Barbican and the Wigmore Hall to the Louvre, Aldeburgh and Aix-en-Provence festivals.

In addition to his busy performing schedule, Robert is head of piano at Bedford School and a colleague of SASO’s principal conductor Bjorn Bantock.

SASO’s Nordic tour begins in Finland with the Karelia Suite by Jean Sibelius, written to accompany a nationalistic pageant.

The concert’s concluding work will be the Symphony No 3 by Denmark’s most celebrated composer, Carl Nielsen. Although never as popular in Britain as the symphonies composed by his contemporary, Sibelius, his music is stylistically unmistakeable.

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The work is most famous for wordless solos given to singers in its dreamlike slow movement. They will be performed by soprano Christina Birchall-Sampson and baritone, Jonathan Saunders, who is also a maths teacher at St Albans School.

Tickets are £14, £10 (£1 under 18s, £5 students) from the SASO ticket secretary (01727 852768), or online from (booking fee applies).