Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with Ning Feng (violin)
If you weren’t in the audience for this one, then you really missed something truly special. In a programme that would definitely have had the seal of approval – no pun on the conductor’s name intended – the packed audience was again treated to three extremely popular works in their respective genres, and where the byword was most definitely melody, more melody, and even more again.
Stunning Ning Feng
The opening and closing works were most impressive, but somewhat paled in comparison with the simply-stunning performance of Brahms’s Violin Concerto by Berlin-based, Chinese-born soloist Ning Feng. Before the concert started, I was able to sound out a few of the BSO’s excellent first-violins, who, even before discussing Ning Feng’s phenomenal technique, spontaneously talked about the power and sheer volume he could get from his instrument. Yes it was a priceless 1721 Stradivari, but it still remains a question of getting out exactly what you put in, and in doing this, Ning Feng showed himself a past-master.
Packed Plymouth audience
Again it was so encouraging to see a packed house once more. On its own, this isn’t going to persuade the BSO hierarchy to bring the orchestra to Plymouth anywhere near the same amount of times it plays in Exeter, as there are still other factors involved. But it’s giving a very clear message that Plymouth audiences might be ready for perhaps one extra visit, in addition to the present two it currently enjoys each year.
There is, though, no such thing as an ideal world, and those in the first few rows who, like me, were bothered by the two powerful stage-lights which seemed to be shining directly into our eyes, will simply have to like it or lump it until a real purpose-built concert venue can be provided. From the attached picture, it’s clear to see that those ancient, yet still-vaguely-attractive Guildhall chandeliers do a perfect job of projecting all their light upwards – rather than downwards onto the stage.
You can read my full review of the present concert here at Seen and Heard International
STOP PRESS: It’s always lovely to catch up with many old friends on such occasions, though it was somewhat worrying that few, if any, were aware that the prestigious London Mozart Players would be coming to the Minster Church of St Andrew, now less than a month away, on Saturday March 9 at 7.30pm, under the auspices of the University of Plymouth’s Arts Institute – formerly Peninsula Arts – where new director Bob Taub will join them in a Mozart Piano Concerto. If we can fill the Guildhall, then next door shouldn’t be a problem – that is, of course, assuming you know it’s actually happening. Further details can be found here.
Philip R Buttall
top image: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Plymouth Guildhall
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