REVIEW: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guidhall

Alexandra Soumm. Picture by Beatrice Cruveiller.
Alexandra Soumm. Picture by Beatrice Cruveiller.
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Bohemian Fire was the title theme for the BSO Friday night concert at Portsmouth Guildhall which featured works by two Russian composers, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, and a warm night it was too.

It began with the Symphony No.1 in D Minor by Rachmaninov. Although the technically disastrous first performance conducted by Glazunov had driven the composer out of the concert hall, unable to tolerate the sound of his own work, the BSO under the direction of their principal conductor Kirill Karabits encountered no such problems and performed it as if to the manor born.

The second half began with the Violin Concerto in D Major by Tchaikovsky with French violinist Alexandra Soumm as soloist, playing the lyrical first movement with sensuous charm,the slow movement with wistful melancholy and the finale with commanding zeal.

Caprice Bohemien by Rachmaninov, which was derived from themes from his one-act opera Aleko, shows imaginative orchestration by the young composer; perhaps not quite fully recognisable as himself in this early work, yet still distinctively and undeniably Russian to the core.

The BSO performance was an appropriately fiery end to the concert with spirited and distinguished ensemble work from the various orchestral sections.