Special concerts have almost become the norm for the BSO with chief conductor Kirill Karabits, but their account of Bruckner’s fourth symphony went further. It was electrifying.
From the magical opening, with solo horn riding on a carpet of tremolando strings, this performance combined the authentic Bruckner sound and pounding rhythms with a giant symmetry of scale.
Where other conductors can seem merely relentless, Karabits managed ebb and flow. How moving were the violas against other strings playing pizzicato in the slow movement, how vivid the crescendo at the scherzo’s start, how majestically managed the brass fanfares.
But outstanding individual playing was evident everywhere too, in a soft flute/horn exchange in the andante, for example, and subtlety of expression survived even amid the grandest symphonic structures.
In the concert’s first half, Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth was a lyrical, bright and rhythmically lively soloist in Haydn’s concerto.
Her first-movement cadenza was played with such fluency of phrasing that it almost seemed she had no need of breathing. And her Ole Bull encore was beguiling in its expressively Nordic melancholy.