We are proud to present a programme of 12 concerts this autumn marking the return to live performance by the BSO following the national lockdown necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic. It will be a truly special moment when Kirill comes on stage to conduct his BSO after the longest period of silence in our 127 year history and we hope that you will all want to join us as we once again bring the live musical experience to our audiences.
Details of all 12 concerts are listed below. Click on the titles to take you to each individual event page or CLICK HERE to view and download our Autumn 2020 Season brochure.
By purchasing this subscription you will not only have access to all 12 of our livestreamed Wednesday night concerts this autumn, but also free access to our specially recorded Behind the Notes pre-concert talks with Andrew Burn, and a free weekly pdf concert programme. All this for just £100, a saving of £32 on if you purchased all separately. Buying a subscription also helps to support the BSO during this time of uncertainty and will help us rebuild our work in the community, beyond the concert hall.
Each concert is streamed live from Lighthouse, Poole at the advertised date and time. Thereafter, the concert is available to watch on demand for 30 days after each original performance date.
BSO is Back
Bach, Ives, Mahler and Beethoven
Wednesday 30 September, 7.30pm
The BSO returns to concert-giving with a personal selection by Kirill, including Bach’s uplifting chorale, Ives’ “cosmic landscape” which poses the perennial question of existence, and Britten’s arrangement of the delicate second movement from Mahler’s Third Symphony, continuing Kirill’s ongoing exploration of Mahler’s music. The appeal of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is not hard to understand – boisterous, intense, energetic and tuneful – it remains one of the most powerful of all symphonic creations.
Voices from the East
Akimenko, Arutiunian and Tchaikovsky
Wednesday 7 October, 7.30pm
Join Kirill on a tour of Armenia and Ukraine starting with little-known Theodore Akimenko’s luscious tone poem. From its beginning Arutunian’s Trumpet Concerto has an unmistakable oriental flavour. Rooted in Armenian folk music, themes are reminiscent of both Khachaturian and Shostakovich. Tchaikovsky was visiting his sister in Ukraine (known as Little Russia during the Tsarist period) when he began work on his Second Symphony, influenced by Glinka’s use of folksongs which he considered to be fundamental to Russian symphonic music.
Eight plus Eight
Schubert and Dvořák
Wednesday 14 October, 7.30pm
A concert of beguilingly atmospheric works kicks off with one of the most recognisable symphonic openings ever composed. Equal parts drama and serenity, Schubert’s Eighth Symphony is his best-known, but also his most mysterious. Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony is unashamedly buoyant and uplifting, yet sweetly reflective, and filled with the most delightful musical wanderings.
Haydn and Brahms
Wednesday 21 October, 7.30pm
Haydn’s Symphony No.95 is the only one of the twelve London symphonies in a minor key, opening in dramatic fashion with five hammer blows. On the completion of his mature Second Piano Concerto, Brahms announced his “ever so tiny piano concerto with an ever so tiny and dainty scherzo.” The music told another story however – Brahms had created arguably the most monumental piano concerto of the 19th century.
Fauré, Ravel and Saint-Saëns
Wednesday 28 October, 7.30pm
Fauré’s effervescent suite although written at the end of a long career retains a lightness and freshness that makes his music stand out. Ravel’s equally as exquisite orchestral version of Mother Goose utters a distinct melodic language among his works – fastidiously attuned to the subtlest delicacies. Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No.2 is, by any standards, an outright winner and deserves to be much better known. Elegantly crafted, it defies convention not least by basing the first movement on a fugue.
Ravel, Couperin and R Strauss
Wednesday 4 November, 7.30pm
An evening of homage to composing predecessors. Perhaps one of Ravel’s most personal creations Le Tombeau de Couperin is a memorial to the fallen in the First World War. Bursting with colour and inventiveness, he reimagines the clarity and rhythmic liveliness of its Baroque forebears. Couperin in turn depicts the elder composer’s elevation to Mount Parnassus whilst the elegant, witty and tender music of Lully himself, enlivened by Strauss’ colourful orchestration and counter-melodies, is central to his bold adaptation of Moliere’s famous comedy.
Lindberg and Beethoven
Wednesday 11 November, 7.30pm
Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg’s working life has been touched by the work of Beethoven in the past and here once again, using inspiration from Beethoven’s private Conversation Books, he peers into the mind of a genius. The only ballet Beethoven composed, The Creatures of Prometheus can be seen as a manifestation of the lineage that took Haydn’s knack for narrative, Mozart’s technical wizardry and fireworks, and Beethoven’s own sense of the darkly dramatic.
Souvenirs of Florence
Mozart and Tchaikovsky
Wednesday 18 November, 7.30pm
Mozart wrote his Quintet in C at the height of his compositional maturity. With the same breadth and scope as that of the ‘Jupiter’ Symphony, it is regarded as one of his chamber music masterpieces. Tchaikovsky adored Florence, returning there throughout his lifetime. No doubt, his “souvenirs” from that beautiful city were not necessarily all musical – this work is far from being just a medley of Italian melodies; some dark passions lurk behind the ingratiating tunefulness of the music.
Britten, Fauré and Elgar
Wednesday 25 November, 7.30pm
Britten’s Interludes from Peter Grimes are not only a set of brilliantly realised tone portraits of the sea, but a subtle psychological primer on the deep questions posed in the opera itself. The Elégie is a prime example of Fauré’s ability to distil anguish into a short, but touchingly effective musical statement. The Variations on an Original Theme resulted from Elgar’s habit of unwinding after a day’s work by improvising at the piano. They contain some of the most charming and deeply felt music Elgar ever penned.
Wagner and Schumann
Wednesday 2 December, 7.30pm
Composed as a “symphonic birthday gift” to his wife Cosima and newborn son, the Siegfried Idyll shows a rarely seen, intimate side of Wagner – a gentle song of contentment and gratitude. Schumann wrote the Second Symphony whilst bouncing between bouts of exuberance and exhaustion. It is a highly integrated work, inspired by the striking opening motto which pervades throughout.
Grosvenor plays Chopin
F Mendelssohn, Chopin and Haydn
Wednesday 9 December, 7.30pm
Fanny Mendelssohn was as much a prodigy as her brother as shown in the wit and sparkle of her overture, brimming with originality. New BSO Artist-in-Residence, Benjamin Grosvenor, performs Chopin’s E minor Concerto abounding in melodies of indescribably expressive sweetness. One of the most characteristic and popular of Haydn’s symphonies, No.88 shines out with originality and musical sleight-of-hand and morphing themes, ingenious even for history’s most illustrious musical trickster.
A Baroque Christmas
Handel and Corelli
Wednesday 16 December, 7.30pm
An evening of seasonal music featuring arias from Handel’s Messiah and Corelli’s glorious Christmas Concerto. Gifted director and conductor of early and classical repertoire, Robert Howarth, and stunning soprano Anna Devin (who sang Handel in what ended up being the final concert of the 2019/20 Season last March) join the BSO for a perfect evening of seasonal music to herald the coming of Christmas.