Friday, January 30, 2009

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Review for Wednesday January 28th

Guest conductor, Kees Bakels and piano soloist, Simon Trpčeski joined the BSO for a Russian piano masterpiece and an epic English symphony earlier this week.

"It was worth coming just for that," according to the woman sitting beside me at Wednesday's Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert.

We'd just heard Simon Trpčeski play Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto with the BSO. With great sparkle and style, it was the kind of performance that makes you want to go back to learning the piano.

Trpčeski and guest conductor Kees Bakels really seemed to enjoy working together. Watching the two communicate was like watching a friendly chat, albeit a musical one. This warmth of feeling came across in the flow of the solo piano and in the orchestral sections of the concerto.

The audience at Poole's Lighthouse stamped their feet and clapped enthusiastically after Trpčeski and the orchestra played the final flourishes of Tchaikovsky's piano masterpiece. A ripple of laughter went through the audience before the pianist smiled and said: "Yeah, I'm thinking what to play." His encore was a waltz for solo piano, which he had learned as a seven or eight year old boy.

The orchestra returned (without soloist) to conclude the evening with Elgar's 2nd Symphony. Conductor Kees Bakels had a twinkle in his eye as he guided the musicians' journey through this lesser performed work.

If you know the 'graduation' theme used in American films about universities or high schools, you'll have a sense of the brass fanfares in this symphony. There's plenty of loud brass and pounding percussion in the earlier movements before Elgar, the work then fades slowly into silence.

The Tchaikovsky is very accessible even to someone who's new to classical music, the Elgar a little more challenging. The sense of energy and passion for great music will continue to build the good reputation of the BSO.

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