Reviews of New Year’s Eve concert

For those who have asked, Ilona Domnich’s stunning departing encore was Alexander Alabiev’s The Nightingale. (The orchestra’s final encore, The Radetsky March, needs no introduction of course!) The Nightingale is Russian composer Alabiev’s most famous work, a song based on a poem by Anton Delvig. It was composed in 1825 while Alabiev was in prison, accused of murder. It has entered Russian consciousness as something akin to a folk song. It was one of Tchaikovsky’s favourite songs from his earliest childhood, as his mother often sang it to him. Glinka wrote piano variations based on the song, and Liszt wrote a transcription of it. The song became more widely known after having been introduced into Rosina’s singing lesson scene in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville by the French mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot.

The first review to appear in print was by Dr Brian Hick, for Lark Reviews. He singled out the playing of Principal Cellist Peter Adams and Harpist Helen Sharp saying: “The orchestra demonstrated the strengths of its individual performers with a fine cello solo in the Suppe and moving harp arpeggios in the hushed moments of the Gold und Silber waltz.”

Read his review in full here:

The review by Phil Dennett for Uckfield News has also been submitted to The ArgusHe says: “The delighted audience at Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s heart-warming New Year concert must have been glad Ilona Domnich swapped piano for a career as a singer. Soprano Ilona Domnich’s sometimes delicate, often dynamic and always delightful lyric coloratura sprinkled magic over the highly entertaining New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala at the Dome.”

Phil notes that:  “The inclusion of some English pieces proved a huge success, with the chiming Westminster Waltz and cascading strings of Charmaine utterly charming.” saying that “for some of the older people in the audience it must have sounded like listening to the long-defunct Light Programme. Tunes such as Unter Donner und Blitz Polka, the Lehar Gold and Silver Waltz and the opening Overture to Die Fledermaus jogged a few distant memories and were immaculately performed by the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra.”

He also notes that: “Amidst all the inspiring quality principal cellist Peter Adams delivered an immaculate and soulful solo in Von Suppe’s energetic Morning, Noon and Night In Vienna. This captivating concert, without a dud moment, was a great way to beckon in 2019 and the appreciative audience let the musicians know it.”

Read his review in full here:

Reviewing for the Brighton & Hove Independent Chris Francis writes: “As usual the BPO’s principal players were provided with the platform to display their expertise and particularly notable this year was cellist Peter Adams in Franz von Suppe’s Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna that opened the second half.”

Read his review in full at:

Reviewing for The Badger, the University of Sussex student publication, Ketan Jha, said: “A well crafted programme and the sonorous tones of sublime soprano Ilona Domnich made for a thrilling set of performances.” He particularly liked the style of guest conductor Richard Balcombe, saying “His engagement with the audience through introductions to sequences of pieces was a welcome departure from the more formal style of typical concerts.”
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