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Unfinished masterpieces brought to life at Britten Centenary concert

Wed, 14 Nov 2012

A concerto by Benjamin Britten will be one of two unfinished masterpieces performed by the University of East Anglia Symphony Orchestra next week.

Under the direction of Sharon Choa, the orchestra will present Benjamin Britten's Double Concerto for Violin and Viola and Orchestra and Edward Elgar/Anthony Payne's Symphony No.3 on November 23 in Norwich.

East Anglia-born Benjamin Britten wrote Double Concerto for Violin and Viola in 1932 at the age of 18. Sadly, he never realised the orchestral parts, nor sought to have it performed. It was not until 1997, that Colin Matthews completed the scoring of the work and it received its premier in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

The concert will be the concerto's debut performance in Norwich, and the UEA Symphony Orchestra will be joined in the celebratory performance by two of the UK's top professional players, Simon Smith (violin) and Paul Silverthorne (viola).

Edward Elgar began work on Symphony No.3 in 1932 at the age of 75. Like Britten, Elgar never completed his masterpiece, leaving no score but 130 pages of sketches. It was not until 1997, that Anthony Payne, the current composer in residence at UEA, completed the scoring of the work, which received its premier at Royal Festival Hall in London, the following year.

The internationally-acclaimed symphony has now been performed by some of the world's leading orchestras on more than 200 occasions, however the concert on November 23 will be the first time that the work has been performed in Norwich, the home town of Anthony Payne's wife and the legendary soprano, Jane Manning.

Director Sharon Choa said: "Not only is this a rare opportunity to hear these two extraordinary compositions performed in one concert, the performance also serves to kick-start a series of Britten centenary celebrations at UEA and around the region as November 22, St Celia's Day, is Britten's birthday.

"Celebrations will continue world-wide through the year thereafter, so we hope as many people as possible come along to support us and mark this important occasion."

The 'Britten Centenary Celebration Concert' takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, November 23 at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich.

Tickets cost £5-£14 and are available by phone or in person from UEA Box Office (01603 508050), Prelude Records (01603 628319) and St George's Music Shop (01603 626414). Tickets are also available online at UEA Box Office

For more information visit or follow @UEAConcerts on Twitter.