Russian treats and a superb concerto from Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra

Stephen Bell
Stephen Bell

Regular guest conductor Stephen Bell joins the Brighton Phil for their penultimate Sunday afternoon concert of the season at Brighton Dome on Sunday, March 4 (2.45pm).

Stephen says: “Hugely powerful Russian emotions in our next concert ranging from an overture by the grand old man of Russian Romantics to one of the first examples of programme music with the brilliantly orchestrated Night on a Bare Mountain.

Gareth Small

Gareth Small

“The ever popular Fourth Symphony by Tchaikovsky is a vivid journey in itself, from the tense opening motif from the horns and bassoons, right through to the unbridled joy of the F major final pages.

“In between, we’re joined by my long-time Hallé colleague and London Brass member, the award winning trumpeter Gareth Small, for a performance of the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto – a perfect vehicle to show off the technical and lyrical qualities of the instrument in a work that seems to draw on many strands of Russian influences and is a perfectly crafted and brilliant showpiece.”

Gareth Small, Principal Trumpet of the Hallé Orchestra, wants to reassure those unfamiliar with Armenian composer Alexander Arutunian’s show-stopping Trumpet Concerto (written in 1950) that they are in for a treat.

He says: “I’m delighted to be back in Brighton Dome to play the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto.

“Don’t be put off if you haven’t heard of the composer. This magnificent piece is fizzing with interesting harmonies, timbres, melodies and textures, for orchestra and soloist, which all come together to create this absolutely brilliant trumpet concerto. It is certainly one of my favourites as it highlights and accentuates the best parts of trumpet playing – range, stamina, technical prowess and tone.

“I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do!”

The programme also includes Glinka’s characteristically Russian sounding overture from A Life for the Tsar, which displays the heroic nobility suggested by the opera’s story of a young Russian peasant who saves the Tsar from a group of Polish kidnappers. More familiar to many will be Mussorgsky’s demonic tone poem Night on a Bare Mountain which depicts a witches’ Sabbath in music of quite terrifying power and energy (and was used in the penultimate scene of Walt Disney’s Fantasia).

Tickets cost £12-£38 (50 percent discount for students/under 18s). They are available from Brighton Dome Ticket Office in Church Street, on 01273 709709 and online at

Discounted parking for Brighton Phil concert attendees can be found in NCP Church Street, a couple of minutes walk from the Dome, costing just £6 between 1pm and 6pm.

The Brighton Phil’s season finale will take place on Sunday, March 25, when Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth returns to celebrate his 70th birthday with the orchestra, joined by virtuosic piano duo Worbey & Farrell who will perform Carnival of the Animals. That morning sees the popular free Open Rehearsal for Children (10.15am-11am) for which places can be booked via Brighton Dome Ticket Office.

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