There was enthusiastic applause at the end of Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra's first concert of the new season, last Sunday, directed by new Music Director and Principal Conductor Joanna MacGregor.
The Brighton Dome audience enjoyed two Mozart piano concertos, separated by the opening Benjamin Britten's Young Apollo suite no 16. Strings accompanied Britten's innovative 20th
century piano themes that stretched boundaries. "A British type of Mozart", said MacGregor. The two Mozart Piano concertos alternated with Three tangos by Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinian who actually wrote them for accordion. So violins replaced accordion, echoing Piazzolla's unique measured style, with spirited accompaniment by MacGregor, no slouch on the piano. Head of Piano at Royal College of Music, forty recordings on her label SoundCircus - the list is long.
Mozart wrote his Piano Concerto No 9, K 271 when he was only 21. The violins ask a question, the piano replies - and this goes on for several bars until the piano takes over the melody with the orchestra backing and the piece acquires a life of its own. Two oboes and two horns join the narrative. One forgets everything, carried along as much by Mozart's masterful wit, energy and grace, as by MacGregor's sensitive interpretation.
And so after the interval came the Piazzolla, followed by Mozart's familiar Piano Concerto No 21 (sometimes called The Elvia Madigan, after the film). This work's different - a full orchestral
overture, with woodwind solos, precedes the piano that picks up the melody and, together with the orchestra, carries it through the second and third movements to its sublime end.
Next Brighton Philharmonic concert is Sunday 7 November, celebrating earth, fire, air and water, through Bach, Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi and Rebel, conducted from harpsichord by Robert Howarth with soprano Gillian Keith. Tickets: Dome Box Office 01273 709709.
REVIEW BY Janet Lawrence