11 November 2020

An inspiring evening live-steamed from Lighthouse, Poole, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, offered the chance to welcome back Kirill Karabits who has been much missed at the BSO since its return to performance in September. Released from quarantine at last to take his place on the rostrum, Mr Karabits was greeted like a modern-day King Arthur returning to his rightful throne!

His selection of music for this concert marking Beethoven’s 250th birthday had a characteristically imaginative BSO style. The concert opened with the UK premier of Absence, a Beethoven celebration by the Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg, co-commissioned by the BSO. This 12-minute work picked motifs from Beethoven’s music and commented upon them. The result showed power and strength, even a suggestion of grandeur, but was also cut through with unsettling undercurrents.

Lindberg’s music has been described as immediate, direct and accessible, and this new work had all those qualities. It is inspiring to hear BSO playing its part in bringing this new work to life.

In selecting which music of Beethoven to follow this premier, Mr Karabits made another typically creative choice, bringing us the complete music from Beethoven’s only full-scale ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.

The BSO brought out all the dancing tunefulness of this rather uncharacteristic Beethoven – it did sound genuinely like theatre music. There was certainly drama, but also fun and joy, all conveyed in a graceful and sunny style.

There were memorable instrumental moments aplenty – perhaps it is not too obvious to pick out Eluned Pierce, so eloquent in the rare Beethoven harp part, and Barry Deacon, exciting new Principal Clarinet in the orchestra, for a lovely performance on the rarely-heard basset horn.

While Lockdown 2 prevents any live audience, we are very lucky to be able to see and hear the BSO via the marvel of live-stream and its techno maestros.


Thanks, Tom!


Watch the concert highlights below!


We were also pleased to receive these reviews from the National Press:


“Throughout the performance, Karabits conducted with unflagging energy and engagement, his face reflecting the nuances of each section’s personality.”

The Times 

“Under Karabits’s crisp direction, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s sound was warm and lean.”