Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, 500th concert review, Sunday, December 2

Tamsin Waley-Cohen
Tamsin Waley-Cohen

The much-loved Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, the only resident professional orchestra in the city, celebrated a major milestone at the Dome on Sunday and entrusted the major roles for their 500th concert to two young talents.

Ben Gernon is fast earning a reputation as one of the most exciting of the new wave of young conductors, while violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen was hailed by legendary American maestro Ruggiero Ricci as “the most exceptionally gifted young violinist I have ever encountered.”

Gernon is already building quite a rapport with the BPO and he led them boldly through Mozart’s Symphony No 35 (Haffner) before the soloist performed the Austrian prodigy’s Violin Concerto No 5 (Turkish).

Mozart was chosen to provide the first half offering as he has been the most heard composer in the BPO concerts to date and as a true Mozartphile I had to be happy about that.

But much to my surprise the master was upstaged on this occasion by another musical heavyweight in Beethoven, whose stately and majestic Symphony No 7 was the highlight for me.

All four movements are instantly recognisable and the second may best be remembered by many for its key role in the King’s Speech.

Even the great man himself rated it one of his best works.

Next offering in the eight-concert programme comes with the traditional and highly popular New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala where guest conductor Richard Balcombe is joined by soprano Ilona Domnich. This concert will be sponsored by the John Carewe Brighton Orchestra Trust.