The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.2
Shostakovich Symphony No.8
Conducted by Kirill Karabits
With Valeriy Sokolov
25th January 2017
What a difference a week can make. Last week I was thrilled with the romantic charm of Elgar and Rachmaninov, along with the brilliance of Guy Braunstein on violin. This week, the BSO treated it’s audience to a more modern, younger, and fresher style of music. Prokofiev and Shostakovich and the young Ukranian Valeriy Sokolov took up the bow and the stage.
Prokofiev wrote the second violin concerto around the time when he was working on Romeo and Juliet and as his return to the USSR was drawing closer, and right from the beginning, he hit us with the melody as the soloist played the violin with no accompaniment. His playing was light and almost jaunty. Despite his relative youth Valeriy Sokolov is a genuinely singular musician and tonight he showed the assembled audience just how beautifully he can play in a piece that has all the hallmarks of the style of music that was in vogue in the inter-war era when the minds and bodies that were shattered by war and struggling with the looming threat of new wars.
The BSO and their principal conductor Kirill Karabits were on the top of their game and once again turned out a performance tonight that was quite simply thrilling. The greatest compliment you can make about a professional in any field is that they are so good at what they do they make it look easy, so easy anyone can do it. So it is with Kirill and Karabits. They make it look so easy that you can quickly forget just how out of this world their work is.
The second part of the night was as moody and foreboding as the first half was light and airy. Shostakovich wrote this damning indictment of the fearful oppressive atmosphere of the Soviet State. Something that was lost on Stalin and the rest of the Soviet leaders who thought that this was another war symphony. Though they were not happy with the work as it was not the celebratory piece that they had wanted from one of their leading composers as the victory over Fascism loomed.
Once again the BSO lit onto their task with aplomb and treated their audience to a demonstration of how to play a piece of music with all the mood and intensity to convey the emotions that the composer wanted to get across to the audience. The looming threat was never far away, the desperate dread that you would be taken away and vanish forever. As the musicians performed the various solos which symbolised the individual’s will to survive. This was yet another fantastic night with the BSO. They just never let you down.