Review: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

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Last season John Lill compellingly brought technical mastery and magisterial rigour to the second piano concerto by Brahms.

Now young Korean Sunwook Kim delivered all that and more.

Surely destined to be known as one of the greats to have emerged from the Leeds international piano competition, Kim was more expressive in tone and phrasing – impassioned and graceful, thrusting and rhapsodically introverted in turn.

He took the long view, like Lill, but also enjoyed the scenery on the way without compromising the overall line, achieving an ideal blend of classical and romantic styles.

Principal conductor Kirill Karabits, recognised nationally as having made the BSO a major force, was responsive to the soloist yet firm in guiding his players – as he was also in Dvorak’s seventh symphony.

Karabits directed Dvorak’s most Brahmsian work with an awareness of both the German composer’s structural strength and the Czech’s flair for colour and rhythmic vitality – particularly in the ingenious scherzo.

In my 23 years reviewing the BSO, I doubt there has been a more consistently exciting season.