Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra

The Dome, 11 November 2012

On paper this seemed a very conventional offering but in execution it proved to be highly stimulating. Verdi’s anniversary was celebrated by a rousing, not to say rumbustious, rendition of the Overture to La Forza del Destino. The brass were splendid and how often can one hear the harps so clearly?

After the stridency of the Verdi, Mozart could have seemed rather too relaxed but Richard Uttley brought a crispness and classical finesse to his playing of the Piano Concerto No23 which was completely convincing. What a pleasure to find a performer who simply plays the music exquisitely without histrionics or showmanship. It was a model of what professional music-making should be. Clarity, precision and rationalism where finely blended to give a reading which held our attention throughout. The second movement was particularly effective in its hints of an inner life and soul which can so easily be missed in a more superficial reading.

It is twenty years since BPO played a Sibelius Symphony. Why, given the popularity of the composer and the fire which Barry Wordsworth brings to his handling of the score? If there were occasional moments of apparent indecision in the opening movement it gathered assurance as it proceeded, with the final movement blazing into life. The third movement climax was built with complete confidence leading to one of the most exciting conclusions of any symphony. The final six chords, I’ve always thought, are as powerful for the silences in between as for the chords themselves, and they certainly were here.BH

Next concert with guest conductor Howard Shelley in works by Weber, Beethoven and Brahms on Sunday 25 November.

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