Firm friend of the BSO, Sunwook Kim, joined special guest conductor Sir Mark Elder in this Beethoven and Dvorak concert, livestreamed from Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts. Sir Mark, a musician with strong Dorset connections (he was educated at Bryanston near Blandford Forum, where the concert hall is named for him), made a worthy replacement for the much-missed Kirill Karabits, who is still prevented from getting here by quarantine restrictions.

Happily pianist and conductor seemed to have clicked together effortlessly, as the Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4 they played is often said to need a specially close understanding between performers. This sense of dialogue and co-operation was tangible from the start of the noble first movement. The beautiful and tender Andante con moto proved a real highlight of the evening, its softly lyrical and ethereal world was a better place than the Covid-dominated globe that was left outside for these sublime minutes. Meanwhile, the witty, almost larky performance of the last movement was pure fun. It was impossible not to smile as soloist and orchestra chased each other about playfully.

The warm understanding carried over into a notably happy New World Symphony (No 9) by Antonin Dvořák. The emotion, the colour and the pure instrumental brilliance of the BSO were impressive, as were the shaping and control exercised by Sir Mark. This is a much-loved and well-known work, of course, though in fact not presented in Poole for some years. Seeing it played with such energy, panache and love was a special delight. It was instructive to be able to watch at close quarters how each section took its moment in the spotlight as the lovely themes unrolled.

The orchestra is announcing a new series of six concerts for Spring starting in the middle of April. We applaud the way the whole team has worked so hard to keep music and hope alive since the bitter disappointment of the cancellation of Elektra – and indeed everything else – exactly one year ago. Many people would not have got so far so happily without the BSO.

Thanks, Tom!

We also received this review from Bachtrack:

Bachtrack **** ‘a stroke of rare and touching poetry’


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