Reviews of latest BPO concert (Sun 3 March)

Reviewing for The Latest Andrew Connal writes: “The typical programme of Overture/Concerto/Symphony was pleasantly subverted by this carefully curated collection of works more regularly played as overtures or encores, a delightful mix of nostalgia and fresh encounters. Their charm and panache lit up a dull afternoon.” He adds that “When there is no concerto the conductor becomes the soloist and the orchestra has more chance to shine which it did so well.”

Read his review in full at:

Phil Dennett‘s review will be printed in The Argus shortly but variations of it are available online at and The Henfield Hub. “Classical music lovers went globe-trotting in style at yesterday’s entertaining Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra concert at The DomeConductor Barry Wordsworth led the confident orchestra as tour guide and the appreciative audience took in Scotland, Sweden, Russia, the USA, England, and Italy.”

Read his review in full at:

Susan Elkin of Lark Reviews wrote: “In a rather refreshing change from the usual overture-concerto-symphony format, this seven work concert was themed on holidays and travel, starting with Mendelssohn in the Hebrides (suitably evocative) and ending in Rome with Tchaikovsky and the Capricccio Italien (nice tambourine duet). And the variety certainly brought the best out in the orchestra who were in rather good form under their Conductor Laureate, Barry Wordsworth.”

Read her review in full at:

Chris Francis‘s review will shortly be published in the Brighton & Hove Independent, Sussex Express and Mid Sussex Times. Until then it is reproduced in full below:

“There should have been something for even the most discerning of tastes at the Dome on Sunday when conductor laureate Barry Wordsworth returned to lead the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra in an eclectic musical travelogue across time and space.

Programming such varied content, seven different works with one being a three-piece suite, poses significant problems but bravo to Wordsworth and BPO artistic administrator Ian Brignall for taking on the challenge and accomplishing it with great success. It provided a wonderful afternoon of entertainment and also enabled the orchestra’s principal players to showcase their not insignificant talents.

It was a cast iron start as Mendelssohn’s glorious Hebrides Overture opened the concert but the next three pieces in the first half were nowhere near as well known. Alfen’s Swedish Rhapsody did bring back happy memories of youth listening to the BBC’s Light Programme in the sixties but was followed by two pieces I cannot recall ever hearing before, Lyadov’s serene Enchanted Lake and then something in complete contrast with Honegger’s Pacific 231, which perfectly evoked the sounds of a trans-American steam locomotive.

It was to England where the audience was taken at the start of the second half with Eric Coates’ London Suite, ending with the iconic Knightsbridge March, and George Butterworth’s splendid and evocative Banks of Green Willow.

The memorable concert then ended as it started with another musical heavyweight in Tchaikovsky’s delightful Capriccio Italien. And if that wasn’t enough there was even time for an encore with Coronation Scot by Vivian Ellis, remembered by some as the theme tune to the radio series Paul Temple and another train-inspired work somewhat more easier on the ear than the earlier piece.

It will be back to a slightly more familiar format for the BPO’s final concert of the season on March 17 when Steven Osborne plays Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3 after Chabrier’s short opener Joyeuse March and before the second half which comprises Berlioz’s well named Symphonie Fantastique.”

Chris Francis


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