With the centenary of the World War 1 Armistice looming the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s first concert of the season featuring the Brighton Festival Chorus was apt, writes Phil Dennett.
Hugh Parry’s often moving 1914 piece From Life to Death was well received by an audience of about 1,000 and it seemed the orchestra and choir enjoyed combining on this music.
As war clouds gathered in 1914, Brighton was one of few towns in the country to hold its music festival and commissioned Parry’s piece to be premiered at that’s year’s concert, also held at the Dome.
More than 100 years later both the musicians and the choir showed great delicacy in the lighter passages as moods shifted from the sombre, punctuated by doomy brass, to a celebratory sense of redemption.
The choir, celebrating its 50th year, showed a gaiety of spirit and easy charm in the highly engaging Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands by Elgar, with nimble cello and jaunty bassoon featuring in the on-form orchestra.
Shostakovich’s Festive Overture was bold as brass, full of energy and was zipped along by conductor Barry Wordsworth, while the choir showed great attack and confidence as well as poise in the crowd-pleasing Zadok The Priest by Handel.
The concert featured lesser known Elgar pieces, the orchestra and singers showing suitable gravitas on Great Is The Lord, sprightliness on the Cockaigne Overture and a gentle beauty on O Hearken Thou.
The next concert is on November 11 and features works by Rossini, Beethoven, and Dvorak.
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