Brahms and Shostakovitch in lighthearted vein combined with a more sombre Mendelssohn to make a richly satisfying afternoon of music making by the Brighton Philharmonic at the Dome.  

Genesis for the St. Anthony Variations was a baroque tune for eight  wind instruments: Brahms first wrote a two piano version and  then scored it for full orchestra.

Howard Shelley led the Brighton Philharmonic in a measured and stately performance, allowing all Brahms’ playful inventiveness room to breathe. Graceful, pointed playing demonstrated the wind origins and  underlined both Brahms’ dignity and sense of fun. 

Conductor turned soloist for Shostakovitch Second Piano Concerto. Leading from the keyboard, Howard Shelley directed the orchestra with aplomb, marvellously managing the considerable technical difficulties of  the concerto  at the same time.

Shostakovitch’s brilliantly percussive and  accessible composition, written for the 19th birthday of his pianist son Maxim, has a dash and sparkle which still delight today:  1950’s modern perhaps  – although not as up to date as the electronic ipad app score on the piano. 

Youthful Mendelssohn was inspired by  romantic craggy landscape but the Scottish Symphony remains faintly ponderous, even when carefully interpreted by Howard Shelley and uplifted by the charming second movement Vivace.

Five Stars