The BSO’s six-concert spring series – a “Coda” to their phenomenally successful autumn and winter livestreams from Lighthouse, Poole – continued on Wednesday evening with a classic double bill conducted by rising young British star, Alexander Soddy. Mr Soddy has made a name for himself especially in Germany, where he is General Music Director at the Mannheim Opera and orchestra, so it seemed particularly appropriate that he should conduct works from the great European tradition.
The pieces chosen shared intriguing links, but also contrasted significantly, as explained by Andrew Burn in his magisterial pre-concert talk. Mr Burn’s illustrated weekly explorations of the works to be heard have markedly improved the appreciation of each programme – a great benefit to the online audience.
Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (Verklärte Nacht) though now seeming a lot less shocking than it apparently did in 1902, is still a rich and involving experience. The power of this interpretation came from the sumptuous string sound of the BSO and the eloquence of the highlighted section leaders. The sense of this being night music was particularly strong as the surging emotions welled and ebbed with finely turned phrasing. As the performers arrived at the serene and confident ending, the music drifted away into the evening, the embodiment of sublime beauty.
The first symphony of Brahms was also an inspiring journey. It seemed to make comment upon the last year, with the emergence of that fine uplifting theme in the last movement offering optimism and hope for the future. This was a performance full of drama and energy which emphasised the arrival at somewhere good – an affirmation of all that has been achieved in a year of endeavour by the orchestra.
Sublime Beauty is available to view online until the 28 May, for details click here