For classical music enthusiasts in Wessex, the autumnal feel in the air sharpens the feeling of anticipation for another season of Lighthouse concerts by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Even if they didn’t make it to the Albert Hall, most regular followers of the Orchestra will have seen the Promenade Concert they performed in August on television. Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits led the Orchestra through a blisteringly intense performance of Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony, and Nicola Benedetti performed the lyrical and romantic Korngold Violin Concerto. With a new contract lasting at least until 2018, Karabits is presiding over a golden age for the Orchestra. They have outstanding long-serving principals in most sections. In performance, this stability leads to a rapport that guarantees a base level of excellence in the playing. We can confidently set our expectations high.
The programme is, as ever, stuffed with ‘must hear’ items and concerts. Karabits continues to expand his range and repertoire. The season starts with a performance of Richard Strauss’s steamy and intense one-act opera ‘Salome’ (30 September). Karabits has given us some memorable Strauss in the last few years: a ‘Don Juan’, a ‘Death and Transfiguration’ and last season an ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ and a Four Last Songs live in the memory. This is definitely one not to miss. Later in the season Karabits conducts a Sibelius concert featuring the composer’s last works from the 1920s (2 December), an intriguing pairing of Dutilleux’s Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s underrated ‘Manfred’ Symphony (20 January), and a debut Mahler symphony, the first (4 May).
Following the success of pianist Sunwook Kim’s residency in the last season, this season’s chosen artist is the outstanding young violinist Augustin Hadelich. Now an American citizen and resident in New York, Hadelich was born to German parents and grew up in Italy. He will play the Tchaikovsky (17 February) and Sibelius (27 April) concertos as well as teaming up with Sunwook Kim in a chamber concert on 16th March.
Of course it is impossible to mention everything in a season of more than twenty concerts, but we are also looking forward to hearing the Chorus in Poulenc’s ‘Gloria’ (18 November) and Brahms’s German Requiem (9 March). There’s the usual wealth of Russian works, sixteen if I counted correctly compared to just five by Brits. No complaints about this: the Orchestra, under Karabits leadership, are acquiring a real reputation for excellence in this repertoire. A couple of nudges for next year: for an orchestra so often conducted by Americans, it’s odd that there’s no American music in the programme. And if Sibelius’s 150th birthday is worth celebrating, isn’t his contemporary and fellow-Scandinavian Carl Nielsen worth remembering too?
Details of all the concerts are at www.bsolive.com, as are booking details and the tempting subscription deals whereby the more concerts you attend, the cheaper they get. Concert reviews will be posted regularly on the BSO website. Happy listening!
Would you like to preview your BSO Concert Season 2015/16 taking place in Portsmouth, Exeter, Bournemouth or Bristol? Please send your previews to Esme James, BSO Communications Manager via email firstname.lastname@example.org