A large audience and an extended stage for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s joyous return to the 2021 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. After the orchestra’s triumphantly successful start to the year, streaming weekly concerts from their Poole HQ at Lighthouse, it was inspiring to be able to hear and see the music live, right in the heart of London.

Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits led an intriguing programme. The opening work was a UK premiere performance: Mason Bates’ melodic and exciting Auditorium. The orchestra fell into a kind of conversation with a recorded and electronically processed Baroque ensemble. Amazingly integrated, and sounding absolutely original, this made a great impression.

Much more well known, and hugely loved, Elgar’s anguished Cello Concerto spoke not just of the close bond between the orchestra and their firm friend the soloist Johannes Moser, but also of the cost and sorrow of the last 18 months. As an encore, Mr Moser joined with the cello section of the BSO in a haunting performance of Casals’ arrangement of the traditional The Song of the Birds. They held the audience spellbound.

The second half comprised Taras Bulba by the Czech master, Leoš Janáček, a work full of love and battle scenes, with the inspiration of folk music. This gave the BSO instrumentalists, including Alistair Young at the mighty Albert Hall organ, a unique chance to shine – which they grabbed with typical flair and flamboyance, bringing the best of Wessex to the metropolis.

As a very personal orchestral encore, Mr Karabits conducted the Taras Bulba Overture by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko. Dramatic, tuneful and exciting, this was a stirring conclusion to the evening and sounded a clarion call for freedom.

To listen to our BBC Proms performance (available until end of September) click here

To read our autumn season press release click here