The new 90th Brighton Philharmonic season came roaring in like a magnificent bear on Sunday to send the Dome faithful (and newcomers) into raptures.
With the BPO’s collection of gifted musicians finding their future in severe doubt before the start of last season, musical director Barry Wordsworth and all the principal players rallied to the cause and committed themselves to the whole season. That proved an inspirational rallying call and with sponsors large and small taking up the cause, this current season was assured.
This time around Wordsworth will be paying his usual trip to take the baton down under but that will mean that regular concert-goers will be treated to their beloved orchestra being led by friends old and new during his absence.
But on Sunday Wordsworth was in complete control as the Russians came calling and he could not have had a more talented soloist than Moscow-born American citizen Natasha Paremski. She took the Dome by storm with a characteristically powerful performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 and there was no doubt the audience would not be fully satisfied until she had once again shown her talent with an encore.
Rach 2 is always a great draw and the playing of the glamorous 27-year-old could hardly have made it a more special start to the season.
It followed an accomplished performance of the jaunty Overture to Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila, while the second half was devoted to another powerful work in the form of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5 that showed Wordsworth in consummate control of his orchestra. This met with an enthusiastic response from the audience who will now be looking forward to the next concert with even more relish. This takes place on November 2 when the BPO will be joined by oboe player Nicholas Daniel and the Brighton Festival Chorus for a programme comprising Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, Schubert’s Marche Militaire, Parry’s Coronation Anthem and Blest pair of Sirens, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.