Review: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Portsmouth Guildhall

Club Scene with Sam Cherry

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Magic was in the air for the final concert in the BSO’s Guildhall subscription season, and not only in Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The magic was also in the baton of principal conductor Kirill Karabits, achieving both precision and long, floating melodic lines, and it was in an orchestra showing no sign of end-of-term weariness – and in the playing of Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey.

His mastery of colouring in Schumann’s Cello Concerto was as evident as his fascinating shaping and colouring of musical phrases and sentences.

And his encore was as beguiling as it was bizarre.

But arguably the most notable performance was the first.

With a reduced string section, Karabits made Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 sound at times like chamber music, allowing players to lean lovingly into melodies before allowing them to burgeon into robust drama.

Even in the cavernous Guildhall, the orchestra achieved an intimate sound – but with an energy that ensured every note carried to the rafters.

The BSO will return on May 31 with a one-off Classical Extravaganza featuring laser lights and indoor fireworks.