Ukrainian Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits is proudly loyal to the music of his late father, Ivan, whose Concerto for Orchestra No 1: A Musical Gift to Kyiv opened proceedings. It is a showcase for highly talented instrumentalists all round the orchestra, full of drama and beauty. 2021-23 BSO Artist in Residence, the remarkable Felix Klieser, then gave a warm and involving performance of Mozart’s popular Horn Concerto No 4, followed by an encore of the last movement of the second concerto. The BSO’s audiences have been enriched by Felix’s virtuosic playing over the last couple of years. It was wonderful to see and hear the huge and deserved ovation he earned from the Proms audience.
After the interval, the single work was Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony – romantic gorgeousness performed with total conviction by the players and shaped with expressive mastery by Mr Karabits. It is strange to imagine that 40 or 50 years ago critics were snarky about this magnificent work. What tin ears they must have had! Perhaps they had not heard the BSO play it? This performance was quite a ride, a totally involving emotional work out.
After the excitement of this Wednesday evening concert, on Thursday morning the orchestra, soloist and conductor re-assembled to present the Relaxed Prom, emceed by Naomi Wilkinson.
Famed, among many other enterprises, for its work on musical inclusivity in schools, hospitals, care homes and local halls all over the Southwest, the BSO was an ideal organisation to present an event designed for those who prefer a more relaxed environment.
Review by BSO Member and Proud Supporter Tom Wickson
The BBC Proms performance is available to hear on BBC Sounds now and to see on BBC Four TV on Sunday 13 August.
Further reviews in national press included:
**** (4-star review) Felix’s 2-year residency with us was praised by The Times, who said: “That level of engagement between soloist and orchestra is rare […] They breathe together.”
**** (4-star review) The Guardian especially enjoyed our performance of Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, which was described as “a genuinely memorable performance”
**** (4-star review) The Daily Telegraph enjoyed both, describing Felix’s performance as “mesmerising” and the Rachmaninov as the “emotional core” of the night, “the joyous final movement, when it came, had exactly the right feeling of a long hoped-for release”