Worthing Symphony Orchestra, Worthing Assembly Hall, January 6

Sussex’s biennial International Piano Competition returns to Worthing in 2013, and previous winner – young Latvian pianist Arta Arnicane – was the soloist with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra in Variations On A Nursery Theme by Ernst von Dohnanyi.

This is concerto-like in scale but the theme in question is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – so simple and memorable that you can always detect its presence in the music however complex its twists and turns. Arta Arnicane performed the solo piano part with humour and virtuosity.

It is typical of the Worthing Symphony Orchestra and its principal conductor John Gibbons that this Family Favourites concert was not just a repeat of old “war-horses” but that it introduced a little-known gem in William Alwyn’s Peter Pan Suite and gave a fresh twist to Eric Coates’ The Three Bears Suite with John Inverdale’s newly-written and witty narration.

John Inverdale then narrated Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf and the varied programme also included some of John Williams’ most famous film music for Star Wars and ET, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.

The enthusiastic audience is doubtless looking forward to the next concert in this series, the Youth Prom on February 10.

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