Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Portsmouth Guildhall, review: ‘A big heart and big melodies’

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra were at Portsmouth Guildhall last night.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra were at Portsmouth Guildhall last night.

Masters of Melody was the title for Thursday evening's BSO, Portsmouth Guildhall concert.

There was a last minute change of conductor, Ben Gernon being indisposed due to illness. Instead Martina Gardolińska, the BSO’s current Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association, took over at short notice and performed admirably well.

The opening work was Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute, a late including trombones anticipating early romantic orchestras, which was performed with a refreshingly unexpected baroque zip.

The second work was Bruch’s Violin Concerto No1 in G minor. His best known and a much loved work, first performed in its revised form in 1868 by Hungarian violinist Joachim. Our soloist was 33 year old Russian Nikita Boriso-Glebsky who performed with fluidity and ease, and was given well-tailored support by the conductor and orchestra.

The final work of the concert was Rachmaninov’s 2nd symphony, his largest orchestral work - with a big heart, big melodies and incidentally a big ask for any conductor, let alone one standing in at short notice. The performance opened with a weighty lower strings which progressed through the cor anglais entry, leading to the subsequent emotional waves. The Rachmaninov tunes epitomised the rest of the symphony, ending the evening in a brash optimism.