Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Review

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Triumphant Return To Brighton Dome

As the Brighton Dome Concert Hall filled up with a notably diverse audience, young children were noticeably part confused as to what was going on and part excited to have been brought out to see the spectacle that is a symphony orchestra performing in full force at the beautiful venue.

From the conductor’s entrance in a bright red waistcoat, worn under his jacket, to the dominant brass showcasing the opening credits to Star Wars, everything was set to stun the audience into silence as the programme of film music classics began. As with most film music concerts, the shorter pieces help to keep the audience in full attention, with an intermittent commentary from the conductor, who already has to keep the sizeable orchestra in check and in-time throughout. As by no means a pre-requisite of the job as a conductor, it was a delight that Pete Harrison took to it like a duck to water, providing the audience with some interesting back-story into the pieces, films and composers of the music which was being performed. He was straight-talking but engaging and steered away from bad jokes and awkward non sequiturs which can often come too easy in these kinds of concerts.

The orchestra was in fine voice, with notable performances from the Principal Trumpet, Chris Avison for his delicate and controlled solo from Apollo 13, Eluned Pierce with her beautiful harp playing, which added a contrast to the brass fanfares and sweeping strings of the film music repertoire, and the 5-strong percussion section and timpanist who kept everything together with strong rhythms on a wide assortment of instruments. The repertoire was well chosen for a concert of this type, although in my opinion could have done with an addition of a few more 21st Century film scores in lieu of one too many John Williams tracks, as is often the case  whenever a film music concert is performed.

It was great to see a number of younger musicians in the orchestra, as well as the seasoned professionals who had clearly been performing all of their adult lives. This will ensure that the future of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will live on for a long time and is something that I would like to see more of in orchestras across the country. I hope to see the BSO return to Brighton again soon with another film music concert, which if complete with a few more contemporary soundtracks, will surely help to resonate with the younger audience and have them coming back to concert halls time and time again.

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