Earning itself the nickname “Symphony of a Thousand” due to the huge vocal and instrumental numbers required for Mahler's Symphony No 8, this is a truly spectacular piece of musical mastery.

The combined might of some of the South West's finest choirs – Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus and Bath Minerva Choir – joined forces with the highly talented Amadeus Orchestra to bring true justice to Mahler's masterpiece.

A packed stage of hundreds of very talented performers was both a visual and auditory spectacle to behold like nothing I had experienced before.

Written in 1906, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 8 was first performed in Munich in 1910, only 8 months before his premature death at only 50.

The symphony has an unconventional structure in that it is performed in two parts, rather than several movements. The first part is based on the Latin text of a 9th Century Christian hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, with the second part based on the closing words of Goethe's Faust.

Written at a “frantic” pace during his Summer retreat in Austria, Mahler said of Symphony No 8 “I saw the whole piece immediately before my eyes, and only needed to write it down as though it were being dictated to me”.

The concert was conducted by the BS Symphony's incredibly talented Chorus Master Gavin Carr whose crisp and commanding style was evident throughout. This is a giant of a piece for any conductor, not least due to the vast number of performers involved but Carr clearly gave every ounce of himself to this concert and squeezed every ounce from his singers and musicians.

Organist Chris Dowie gave a spirited performance, but in fact so did every one of the Amadeus Orchestra and how refreshing it was to see so many younger musicians within their ranks.

Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus was conducted by Musical Director Jean Holt, and its throng of around 30 young singers handled themselves ably among their more experienced adult counterparts.

With 8 soloists involved, all of immense calibre and both UK and international acclaim, it would be impossible to single any out, except to say that Sopranos Naomi Harvey and Suzanne Manuell's voices complemented each other beautifully especially in the second half of the programme.

Performing to a near-full Concert Hall at the Lighthouse, the piece ended in dramatic and full-bodied style, following the moving Chorus Mysticus, which was a personal highlight. The evening received a much deserved standing ovation and rapturous cheers and applause. The Youth Chorus received its own very well deserved ovation and clearly contains some exciting choral prospects for the future.

Stephanie Hall