REVIEW: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

Where am I? A world-class orchestra in fine form, playing in a fantastic concert hall with a superb acoustic.

Friday, 26th January 2018, 9:25 am
Updated Friday, 26th January 2018, 9:27 am
Boris Giltburg. Picture by Sasha Gusov

Vienna? London? Berlin?

No. I’m in Portsmouth Guildhall, listening to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Triumph and Passion programme. Khachaturian’s Spartacus has been unofficially re-titled as the theme tune to The Onedin Line, showing that the BSO’s programmers know how to woo an audience. More audience-pleasing came with Shostakovich’s second piano concerto, which is a rattlingly good piece, full of jollity. The composer wrote it as a 19th birthday present for his son and it is frequently described as a pen-picture of innocent youth.

Soloist Boris Giltburg (appropriately named for his golden touch in the slow movement) showed exemplary technique as he skittishly ran around his piano-playground, full of energy and enthusiasm. The orchestra was at its best here, with astonishing discipline in the exacting, complex rhythms of the final movement.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony is also crowd-pleaser and it was in this work of great passion and drama that they displayed their amazing string section (as warm-toned as any of the great European orchestras) equally matched in skill by the other sections of the orchestra.

Can lowly Pompey compete with the best? Yes we can!