Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, November 11

First published in The Critic by

The sum of the parts was greater than the whole in the Dome when an extended Brighton Philharmonic exploded with orchestral colour in a dramatic programme of Verdi, Mozart and Sibelius.

Conductor Barry Wordsworth had to restrain the players in The Force of Destiny, music now associated with more modern Italian drama: lest we forget its proper context and scoring, the music was returned to its operatic origins with a vengeance.

Young pianist Richard Uttley, soloist in K488, was perhaps less well served by the enthusiasm around him. His intense and sensitive performance was more in sympathy than in the spotlight and occasionally lost definition in contrast to the string surround. But a gifted and thoughtful Mozartean, if more an ensemble player than soloist – so far.

Barry Wordsworth has not often championed Sibelius Fifth Symphony, but you would never know it from the thrilling account he summoned from augmented forces. Brasses – horns, trumpets, trombones – have the celebrated theme for themselves, but all relished their terse lines, granite orchestral sonorities and punctuated motifs from a composer avoiding either Wagner or 19th century romantic rhetoric. Terrific playing from leading players; bravo.

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