There was certainly a big, big finish to the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s current season on Sunday, March 17, with what looked like the biggest audience to date at the Dome.
Not only were they plentiful in number but they were as boisterous as the programme was rousing.
Conductor laureate Barry Wordsworth and the big line-up of musicians, including quite unusually two tubas and six timpanis, earned their keep and there was generous appreciation of both them as well as for the efforts of Steven Osborne in his performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3.
The ‘Rach’ piano concertos are legendary and No 3 is a monumental work. Despite it being the first time Osborne had returned to it in almost 25 years, he gave a wonderful performance and when left little choice but to provide an encore after such rapturous applause, it was to the same Russian master that he turned in the form of Prelude Op 23 No 4. This was in sharp contrast to the programmed work but it was beautifully and sensitively played.
The concert opened with the short, tuneful Joyeuse Marche by Chabrier and the second half was devoted to the testing Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz. It was a fitting programme to dedicate to the memory of Don Newbold CBE, who was a generous supporter of the orchestra for years before his death 12 months ago aged 91.
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