New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala Concert, Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, review: A wonderful way to see in 2019

Ilona Domnich
Ilona Domnich

Now in its 29th year, the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala Concert continues to prove a popular choice for those wishing to see in the new year in traditional manner.

And in recent years the BPO has managed to maintain that support while providing the occasional twist to keep things fresh.

This time around at the Dome it was the addition of a few tunes closer to home that provided that freshness. I much enjoyed Robert Farnon’s Westminster Waltz and the Ronald Binge arrangement of Charmaine, popularised by Mantovani and his famous orchestra, both of which took me back to my youth. But, of course, it was the music of the Strauss waltz kings that provided the staple fayre, supplemented by their 20th century successor Franz Lehar.

Richard Balcombe led the orchestra through the afternoon and the vocal input was provided by Russian-born soprano Ilona Domnich.

As usual the BPO’s principal players were provided with the platform to display their expertise and particularly notable this year was cellist Peter Adams in Franz von Suppe’s Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna that opened the second half.

That should have whetted the appetite for what is up next on January 20 when cellist and conductor Thomas Carroll, clearly much admired by the orchestra’s players after previous appearances, takes charge for a programme featuring Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1, Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A Minor and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 (the Scottish).

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