REVIEW: 88th Brighton Philharmonic concert season begins

The 88th Brighton Philharmonic concert season promises plenty to appeal to all and could hardly have got off to a more rousing start on Sunday (October 21).

In homage of Trafalgar Day, the programme could hardly have been more apt and was suitably well received by the Dome faithful, who never fail to give their beloved orchestra full support.

When orchestra combines with the Brighton Festival Chorus it always provides a winning team.

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The choir, around 100-strong, featured mainly in the first half, which was devoted entirely to Haydn’s majestic Nelson Mass. The soloists doing this wonderful piece full justice were soprano Elizabeth Donovan, mezzo Juliette Pochin, tenor James Edwards and bass Michael George, who stepped in to replace the indisposed Stephen Roberts.

After the interval the sea and Nelson links continued with Elgar’s Sea Pictures and the Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Sir Henry Wood. The Sea Songs were particularly appropriate to the day as it was on October 21 back in 1905 that the specially written piece was performed to celebrate the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Audience participation, encouraged by Brighton Phil music director Barry Wordsworth, whose lighthearted touches were much appreciated by all, provided a memorable finale but not before accomplished contralto Elizabeth Sikora delighted everyone with her presentation of Elgar’s Sea Pictures.

The vastly experienced concert and opera singer clearly has a particular liking for the work, judging by her wonderful rendition.

It was a great start to the season and the next concert on November 11 also promises much as it features a heady mix of Verdi, Mozart, Vivaldi and Sibelius.

By Chris Francis