Review: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Portsmouth Guildhall

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Jan Ravens

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At the end of a concert about casting spells, the one that was broken almost ruined everything.

The Spanish first half was properly haunting in the hands of young Spanish conductor Pablo Gonzalez, with Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang utterly beguiling in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranajuez despite the effects of amplification on her tone.

That performance, and those of music by Falla and Turina, were rich in subtlety of rhythm and colouring under Gonzalez’s idiomatic direction.

He was equally masterful in Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique symphony – until he lowered his hands at the end of the feverish march, prompting sections of the audience to applaud and breaking the spell before the slow finale.

All a conductor needs to do is keep their hands high for two moments before re-launching the music.

As it was, the BSO’s intensity and artistry retrieved the situation and the symphony faded into a shattered silence that no-one wanted to break.