28 October 2020

The most recent of the much-admired season of BSO concerts in the Poole Lighthouse proved a delightful evening, definitely composed of the sweet and colourful style of French delicacy. Not dubious animal parts, more fondant-iced patisserie.

Yet nothing was too obvious, too dreamily saccharine. The BSO often likes to present something a bit different, a bit less well known, something inexplicably overlooked…. Sometimes, as recently, in Voices from the East, sometimes, as here, in messages from a little closer to home. Even if we have been robbed of the opportunity of popping over to Cherbourg or St Malo in person this year, there is still every reason to revel in music from just across La Manche.

A good case in point was Saint-Saëns’s Second Symphony, directed here by guest conductor Thierry Fischer who was making a welcome return to the BSO. It is an unfamiliar work, yet tuneful, engaging and interestingly constructed. The four melodic movements gave ample opportunity for all sections of the orchestra to show off their multiple talents, conveying their pleasure in working together for both on-line and live audiences.

The concert had opened with Fauré’s Masques et Bergamasques. Though presumably planned well before the recent fashion for face coverings, there seemed a knowing wink to our current predicament in these four stress-busting and romantic evocations of Renaissance dances. The orchestra seems by now quite used to its wide-spaced set up and clicked together admirably.

In between these works the BSO and Mr Fischer played the eleven-section Mother Goose ballet music by Ravel. The masterful orchestrations were, if anything, easier to track and to enjoy in this orchestral cinemascope format. Each movement had many sparkles of instrumental brilliance from the players. The Enchanted Garden was completely magical.

While travelling very far is still largely off the agenda, and Mr Karabits is still caught by quarantine regulations, what a pleasure it was to be taken on this joyful tour by the BSO.

Thanks, Tom!

Watch the concert highlights below!

We were also pleased to receive a review from the Bournemouth Echo.