Reviews of Sun 20 January concert with Thomas Carroll

The first reviews are in for Sunday’s concert at Brighton Dome:

Andrew Connal writing for The Latest says of conductor/cellist Thomas Carroll: “The audience loved his virtuosity.”

Read his review in full at:


Reviewing for Phil Dennett says: “Prokofiev’s fine Symphony Number 1 in D Major provided an enticing entrée to the afternoon, with gurgling bassoon, dancing strings and nimble flute in the mix with some lyrical violin and cello in an absorbing performance of precision and agility that zipped along at a quick pace.”

He also praises Thomas Carroll’s “immensely satisfying performance that always held the attention” and the orchestra’s “fine playing”. Read his review in full at:


Chris Francis‘s review will shortly appear in the Brighton & Hove Independent and Mid Sussex Times:

“There was a glorious start to the new year on Sunday when acclaimed cellist Thomas Carroll took on the dual role of soloist and conductor in the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s fifth concert of its 94th season.

Despite quite a few regular faces missing from the BPO line-up, the players coming in were given some prominent roles, among them principal cello Adrian Bradbury and timpanist Donal O’Neil.

Bradbury enjoyed a touching duet with the superb playing of Carroll in Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A Minor, which was sandwiched between Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1 ((classical) and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 (Scottish).

It was an inspired choice of programme with Carroll pointing out some uncanny similarities between the Schumann and Mendelssohn, while Prokofiev’s highly original 20th century work pays homage to the classical era of Haydn & Co.

Next offering from the BPO is on Sunday February 10 and features Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod (Tristan and Isolde), the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss and Reinhold Moritzevic Gliere’s Symphony No 1. Guest conductor is Stephen Bell and the soprano is Camilla Roberts.”

Chris Francis


Janet Lawrence‘s review for The Argus (below) will be published shortly:

“Lovely concert last Sunday with the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra at The Dome Concert Hall.

The first of the 2019 concert series – three more concerts to come. Each one’s different.  This one had – as cleverly advertised – a starter, main course and dessert.

Yehudi Menuhin School trained conductor and cellist Thomas Carroll led the orchestra, playing Schumann’s cello concerto for the main course. Starting with the 20th century composer Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1, Thomas Carroll enters the stage and without preamble and goes straight in to a brisk paced and lyrical first movement. This short symphony manages to include four movements in its thirteen cheerful minutes. Using a baton, Carroll has a light touch. Robust trumpet interludes intersperse with flute and violin in this melodic piece. The second movement has its delicate nuances, leading into a dance tempo, ending with a rousing gallop.

Out goes Carroll to bring in his cello and settle into the much-awaited Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor. Schumann composed this calm, reflective concerto in 1850, much to his young wife Clara’s appreciation, but it wasn’t performed until four years after his death. In the second movement there is a passage especially inserted for Clara – she would have understood.

Carroll sits with his back to the orchestra, and starts to play the wonderful slow opening, while directing the orchestra during musical intervals.

How does a soloist cope with both? A chat in Carroll’s dressing room afterwords affirmed that he knows the concerto so well – the 43-year-old having first played it when he was 16 and has played it so many times – that he could probably write it out from memory. “There’s quite a history from musicians directing from the instrument, before conductors were really around”, he said. “There are indeed certain logistical challenges especially in a piece such as the Schumann, which I think is the limit as to what is possible. But I knew it would be possible with this orchestra because I’ve worked with them many times and we had a full rehearsal in London.”

Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony was sheer delight – atmospheric, light and full of melody; but I couldn’t, for my life, sense the desolation and gloom of Holyrood’s ruined chapel, near Edinburgh, that inspired him. Maybe the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra is so irrepressible they couldn’t bring themselves to make the music gloomy. The Scottish Symphony’s four movements were cheerful, uplifting and a great dessert to send us out happy.

Next concert: Sunday 10 February, 2.45pm. Dome Concert Hall.  Stephen Bell conducting Wagner, Richard Strauss and Glière, featuring soprano Camilla Roberts.  Tickets: 01273 709709, or on the door.”

Janet Lawrence


For Susan Elkin, reviewing for Lark Reviews, “an enjoyably intelligent account” of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony was the highlight of the programme. However “in each of the three works in this concert…we got lots of delightfully insouciant leggiero string playing, some bouncy, syncopated woodwind work in the elegantly delivered gavotte and a saucy molto vivace which included some nifty flute playing.”

Read her review in full at:

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