Review: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at the Guildhall, Portsmouth

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At the end it seemed that the BSO’s conductor laureate, Andrew Litton, wanted to give every member of the BSO an individual bow. And who could blame him?

Between them, Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ piano concerto and Shostakovich’s 10th symphony had embraced soaring heights and savage depths of emotion.

In the concerto, Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski showed he has grafted musicianly weight on to his youthful razzle-dazzle virtuosity.

He achieved the transition from magical delicacy at the end of the slow movement to firm rhythmic stability in the finale with flair.

Having glowed with warmth in the concerto, the BSO conjured both fire and ice in a symphony that shifts between desolation and rage.

The four-minute scherzo alone seemed to contain a lifetime of fury.

Well-established soloists on flute, oboe, clarinet and horn shone as expected, and more recent recruit Tammy Thorn on bassoon confirmed she is in the same league, making potent impact in the finale.

Litton had apparently described the scherzo (which means ‘joke’) as four minutes and seven seconds of unmitigated anger – and boy, did the orchestra deliver!