REVIEW: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

Pianist Steven Osborne. Picture by Ben Ealovega
Pianist Steven Osborne. Picture by Ben Ealovega
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The new season of orchestral concerts at Portsmouth Guildhall began on Thursday with the visit of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and their

Principal Conductor Kirill Karabits.

They began with Beethoven’s First Symphony, the same music that they had presented with huge success at this summer’s Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. The ensemble was crisp, the rhythms vivacious, the woodwind playing particularly effective in enhancing the melodic personality of this appealing score.

Next came more Beethoven with the Fourth Piano Concerto, in which soloist Steven Osborne brought a fresh and compelling account of the score. There was a splendid rapport between piano and orchestra, a true partnership of equals as befits the priorities of the classical concerto.

After the interval Bizet’s attractive Symphony in C completed a most enjoyable programme. Given the music’s melodic freshness and rhythmic vitality, it is astonishing that it was never performed during the composer’s lifetime, but since its belated premiere it has never looked back. Certainly Karabits brought a special freshness to his interpretation. The orchestral playing was of the highest calibre, confirming that Portsmouth is fortunate to have a truly world-class orchestra based in our region, a fact that all discerning music lovers will realise, of course.