Acclaimed musical director Barry Wordsworth has got the 90th Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra season off to a flying start and now leaves his charges in the capable hands of various guest conductors before returning for the final concert in March.
Before Wordsworth sets off on his annual pilgrimage to the other side of the world he oversaw a hugely enjoyable and eclectic second concert in the season where the Brighton Festival Chorus, much beloved of the Dome faithful, helped ensure most of the seats were taken.
The BFC offered their formidable weight to two pieces by Sir Hubert Parry, while oboeist Nicholas Daniel made a welcome return to the Dome to play the Richard Strauss concerto for that instrument, not written until the great man was into his early eighties.
Daniel and Wordsworth extended much energy on the piece to produce a wonderful filling to an English sandwich of Parry’s rousing Coronation Anthem and blest Pair of Sirens, the latter based on Milton’s Ode at a Solemn Music.
The splendid Sunday afternoon offering had opened with Schubert’s tuneful Marche Militaire (the first piece performed when the concert season began all those years ago) and ended with Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which underlined his orchestral talents and the composer’s rightful place alongside all the European masters.
Following the coming together of English and German/Austrian composers, a fitting harmony to a year that marks the centenary to the start of World War 1, the BPO offer an all-British theme for their next concert on December 7 when the highly popular Lark Ascending (Vaughan Williams) and Fingal’s Cave Overture (Felix Mendelssohn) head a programme that also includes works by George Butterworth, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Sir Malcolm Arnold, Hamish MacCunn and Eric Coates. Guest conductor will be Richard Balcombe.