Heart & Soul: The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra play Elgar and Rachmaninov
Elgar’s Violin Concerto with Guy Braunstein
Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony
Kirill Karabits Conducting
Poole Lighthouse Arts Centre
January 18th 2017
It is easy for a writer to use superlatives when confronted with the kind of concert that the BSO put on last night. But that is only because it is hard to quantify with words just how good both the orchestra and the virtuoso were in last night’s concert. Little did we, the audience, know, as we filed into our seats, that we were going to be treated to an evening of music played so emotively that we would be put into a trance.
There were many highlights in this concert. First of all was the truly remarkable performance of Guy Braunstein. He had the audience eating from the palm of his hand right from the first note that he played, and did not release his grip over the audience until he had finished his encore, another piece by Elgar called Salut D’Amour. His performance must rank up there as the finest that an audience of the BSO has ever been treated to, the only lament about it is that it was not recorded for posterity. If you happen to see that Guy Braunstein is playing near you, then, by all means, get a ticket and go. You will not be disappointed. You will be robbing yourself however if you don’t.
Another worthy mention from the concert was Kirill Karabits, who is one of the finest conductors in this country and like many of the musicians within the orchestra he is not as well known perhaps as he should be. Something that hopefully will be remedied over the years. He pours himself into the music and gave so much at the end of last night’s concert that he looked like a man who had just run a marathon. So good was his control of the music that the audience had no time to be bored. But he was masterful in conveying the sheer depth of beauty that is written into both pieces. His interpretations are highly intelligent and though you might think you know a piece of music, he will always delight you with what he brings out during a concert.
The highlight of the evening was definitely the performance of Elgar’s violin concerto. The interplay between the soloist, the orchestra and the conductor pulled the audience in and the audience, in turn, could not contain their pleasure when the last not died down.
After the intermission, the audience took their seats and felt that it would have been a near impossible task to follow up what had gone before but to think that would be to show a serious lack of faith in the orchestra and the intuitive conducting of Karabits. The orchestra started the great icy landscape of music that Rachmaninov composed. It took massive levels of concentration on the part of the maestro as he conducted the piece, but he was more than a match for it and what he and Rachmaninov asked of the orchestra they were willing to give. The BSO is a fine collection of musicians but there were moments when there were certain ones who stood out and deserved applause. Amin Merchant’s playing is always worthy of not, but he showed just why he is worthy of higher renown than he gets during the opening of the second movement as did the playing of Anna Pyne on flute in the third movement.
The BSO is a fine collection of musicians but there were moments when there were certain ones who stood out and deserved applause. Amin Merchant’s playing is always worthy of not, but he showed just why he is worthy of higher renown than he gets during the opening of the second movement as did the playing of Anna Pyne on flute in the third movement. Also the harpist Eluned Pierce was her usually wonderful self and deserves a certain amount of praise from last night.
As I said before, as Kirill took his applause and presented the orchestra to the audience who cheered and applauded and showed their gratitude with unabashed glee, he looked like a man who had exhausted himself conducting. It is that level of care which he has for the music, his musicians, as well as the audience, that has taken him to the high standard he has attained as a conductor. Kirill Karabits and the BSO always guarantee a good night out, you know what you are getting with them, brilliant musicians with a phenomenal conductor, but last night was a concert that was one of the best nights in the music hall I have ever had, if not the best. It was a concert that should not have been missed. Simply put, it was fantastico!
My rating for this concert was 5/5.