Spring concert thaws the senses

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The weather outside was more like a Siberian winter but inside The Dome, Spring blossomed in all its glory for the final concert in Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s latest season.

With principal conductor Barry Wordsworth at the helm, the orchestra steered the audience into the warmth, with a climactic performance of Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, which combines the ferment of joy with terror as Spring explodes in a riot of music.

As rapturous applause and cries of ‘More’ reverberated across the auditorium, it was hard to believe that nearly one hundred years ago, when Stravinsky’s ground-breaking work was first performed, there were boos and hisses from the audience.

Another highlight of a wonderful afternoon of music was La Valse by Maurice Ravel, which whirled faster and faster into a dark percussive climax that had the same menacing intensity of Stravinsky’s masterpiece.

The Russian Easter Festival Overture by Rimsky-Korsakov evoked the delicate flutter of wings and shimmering strings of Vaughan Williams sublime Lark Ascending.

Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No 1 in A minor was performed with faultless intensity by Gemma Rosefield but its delicacy failed to assault the senses like the apocalyptic brilliance of either Ravel or Stravinsky.

Review by Dianne Jones