And so the final evening of the BSO’s autumn season has come round, concluding the deeply satisfying sequence of concerts which has run weekly since October – and ushering in the orchestra’s 2021 Christmas celebrations.

How better to do all this than with music by JS Bach and GF Handel conducted by the Baroque expert and Director of the Academy of Ancient Music, Laurence Cummings?

He was accompanied by the soprano Carolyn Sampson and tenor James Gilchrist – both quite outstanding – who sang recitatives and arias from the Christmas Oratorio and Messiah, while the orchestra added instrumental numbers such as the Sinfonia from Bach’s BWV 42 and Handel’s Concerto a Due Cori No 1.

Other highlights included Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen with the top-flight guest trumpeter Chris Evans, and the perennial favourite Let the Bright Seraphim from Handel’s Samson which came before a beautiful encore Quem Pastores by Praetorius.

The BSO has remained in amazingly good shape through this season. In Lighthouse Poole the players have performed a rich variety of music, while the company as a whole has battled to re-build its programme of touring round the orchestra’s huge home patch, and to re-establish a large part of its ground-breaking and vitally important Participate operations – education, healthcare and community projects.

Thanks to the efforts of everyone in the company, and the welcoming staff at Lighthouse who make attending in person feel so safe, there is much to look forward to.  The Christmas and New Year season has a number of traditional and festive concerts. Then the Spring Season is full of exciting repertoire, mainstream and less familiar. Brilliant young performers are on their way to the orchestra, too, led of course by the amazing horn player, Felix Klieser.

Writing last year, the pop critic Paul Morley described his new love, classical music, as “a sanctuary, a space for mental peace, perfect for those still fancying a private place to think, to deal with this unnerving new loneliness and disorientating tension we are dealing with.” Audiences are eternally grateful to the BSO for making such a place available to us through these troubled times, and for binding us together into a joyful community of musicians and listeners.

The Orchestra returns with a series of New Year’s concerts to mark the start of 2022. Livestreamed concerts resume from Wednesday 12 January… book your seat in the hall or digital ticket today.