Sunwook’s Rach Three and BSO’s 2015/16 Concert Season

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Sunwook’s Rach Three review, Poole, Lighthouse, Wednesday 29 April, 2015           by Tom Wickson, BSO Member

It is hard to pick out a single outstanding highlight from such an exciting programme as we have enjoyed this season, but what an incredible experience it was to hear the Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto with Sunwook Kim and the Prokofiev Sixth Symphony played together in Poole, Bristol and Portsmouth in the last days of April and on the first of May 2015.

Sunwook Kim, BSO Artist -in-Residence 2015/16

Sunwook Kim’s amazing virtuosity was just so engaging in the Rachmaninov. He looked absolutely exhausted after the performance; as well he might, given the length and technical difficulty of the piece.

The audience was there with him the whole way, rolling and swirling like a ship at sea as we lived the mighty emotions and boiling passions of this dramatic masterpiece.

It is hard to imagine how Sunwook found the energy to take the baton and conduct the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as an encore – but let’s hope it was just the beginning of many future conducting endeavours.

After the interval, the Prokofiev Sixth Symphony proved a shattering experience.               A mixture of lament for the dead of the Second World War and Prokofiev’s personal response to facing his own mortality, this is a serious and powerful work. The Orchestra was in absolutely top form. Kirill’s interpretation of the work meant we experienced an involving and moving performance, never likely to be forgotten.

Perhaps the most important feature of the evening, apart from the live relay on             BBC Radio 3, was the announcement by Dougie Scarfe at the interval in Poole that       Kirill Karabits has agreed to extend his Conductorship on a rolling basis, taking the Orchestra through to its 125th anniversary in 2018 and beyond! How amazingly lucky    we are!

BSO 2015/16 Concert Season, by Tom Wickson, BSO Member

Augustin Hadelich, BSO Artist-in-Residence 2015/16

With such a mouth-watering BSO 2015/16 concert programme, how can we decide what to come and hear? There have been some lively debates in our household and a few ‘prior engagements’ might have to give way.

Clearly after the Rach Three, Sunwook’s recital with the brilliant Augustin Hadelich, BSO Artist-in-Residene 2015/16 and the Orchestra strings is an essential. The season-opening Salome is a really exciting prospect, as are visits by soloists like Steven Isserlis and  John Lill.

How about those sublime Beethoven Piano Concertos which are scattered through the season, and the BSO Chorus in Poulenc’s Gloria and Brahms’ Requiem? There’s Mozart by Reinhard Gebel and Elgar by Vassily Sinaisky and almost too many things to take in by Maestro Karabits.

I hope the Chief Conductor and the Orchestra management understand what torments of decision we are going through before we probably buckle under and book the lot!