Review: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Lighthouse, Poole

By Mike Marsh

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It seems quite a while since the lovely Tasmin Little last graced the Lighthouse concert hall, yet it’s always worth the wait.

On the podium, making his debut with the BSO, Latvian conductor Ainars Rubikis offered ideal support with a richly harmonised introduction to Brahms’ Violin Concerto.

Emerging from the backdrop, Little’s high-register violin expressed a flowing bond with the BSO; we marvelled at her finesse in Joachim’s cadenza and in the elaboration of the beautiful tune introduced by the oboe in the slow movement.

The finale’s brilliance saw Little’s beaming rapport with the orchestra draw countless felicities and rapturous applause.

First impressions of Rubikis would suggest his rising stardom is well founded.

In an immaculately prepared account of Schubert’s Symphony No8 the contrasts of gentle lyricism and dramatic punctuations were imbued with poetic sensitivity and an intensely focussed understanding.

In the Andante the winds lyrical lead was meticulously underpinned by a finely wrought rhythmic tutti that brought this half-symphony its full share of wonderment.

We would expect Schubert to be songful, but Stravinsky?

In the hands of Rubikis that is just what we heard. Sure the acerbic sections of this 1919 version of the Firebird Suite lived up to, and beyond, the BSO’s usual incisive performance.

But into the mix of menacing atmosphere and kaleidoscopic orchestral colour came the floating filigree of the Princesses Round Dance, a mysterious touch of ethereality in the Berceuse and dawning finale.

A winning performance by a musical magician.