Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Rapturous applause, enthusiastic stamping of feet and three curtain calls greeted the new Principal Conductor Designate of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra tonight.

Ukranian conductor, Kirill Karabits took the podium in his first concert in his new role with the orchestra in a programme including Beethoven's Violin Concerto (soloist: James Ehnes) and Shostakovich's 11th Symphony.

Violinist James Ehnes delivered a dazzling performance in the Beethoven concerto which he played with great panache, seemingly effortless fluidity and excellent techical accuracy. He seemed truly at home with the music. Applause and the roll of stamping feet recalled Ehnes to the stage after the concerto when he played a solo Bach gigue.

The second half of the concert featured Shostakovich's 11th Symphony, "The Year 1905", which was inspired by the massacre of civilians in a peaceful protest in St. Petersburg that year.

It's not a work for the faint hearted, but following the instruments as they tell the story is well worth the effort. The variation in dynamics displayed by the BSO was breath-taking.

Maestro Karabits created a wonderful arc from subtle pizzicato strings to brash brass sounds to savage sawing action in strings and thundering sounds of the gong, cymbals and timpani. A special mention must be given to the percussionist who played large up-turned bells in an audio-visual spectacle.

Kirill Karabits has said Shostakovich's 11th Symphony inspired him to become a conductor:
"I remember listening over and over again to the LP disc of that piece conducted by Kirill Kondrashin. So, after 19 years I’m deeply excited to finally conduct it for the first time in my first programme as a principal conductor of BSO".

Audience members will no doubt follow the ongoing career of violinist James Ehnes and I'm sure many will return on Wednesday December 3rd for Maestro Karabits' next conducting engagement with the Bournemouth Symphony.

Kirill Karabits was elected unanimously by the members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He is the first Ukranian to head a British Orchestra.

The concert was recorded by BBC Radio 3 and will be broadcast on Monday December 1st at 7pm. Click HERE for details...

Tonight's concert tours to Guildhall, Portsmouth tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 7.30pm.

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