What started with a sense of relief and gratitude ended in a glorious triumph as the acclaimed Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra launched their 89th season with a Beethoven fest on Sunday October 6.
Before the start principal conductor Barry Wordsworth thanked the assembled Dome faithful for rallying around to ensure the current season could go ahead after it had been in grave doubt for much of the summer.
BPO chairman Karen Platt echoed those sentiments in her programme note and was one of the concert sponsors in recognition of her 50th birthday.
Clearly Wordsworth and the orchestra were keen to thank their supporters with a masterful performance and with considerable help from young Australian pianist Jayson Gillham, they carried it off magnificently.
Gillham brought great sensitivity to his personal interpretation of the majestic Emperor (Piano Concerto No 5) and that was matched by Wordsworth as he ensured the orchestra fully complemented a memorable performance.
The concert had opened with Overture No 3 from Leonora, later renamed Fidelio and representing Beethoven’s one and only contribution to the operatic genre.
The second half was devoted entirely to the master’s Pastoral (Symphony No 6) and provided the most perfect start to a shortened season, where Wordsworth himself will be at the helm for all eight concerts, including the New Year’s Eve offering.
Even leader John Bradbury made a welcome return in what was clearly a welcome show of solidarity and one that could hardly have been more enthusiastically received.
Wordsworth claimed he had chosen the 89th season’s programme before the full extent of the funding problems had been appreciated but he could hardly have provided a better package to appeal to the masses.
The next offering is a Bach fest on Sunday November 3 when the orchestra will be joined by the Brighton Festival Chorus, equally as beloved of the Dome faithful.