Review: Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra @ Brighton Dome, 8/11/15

Image: Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Barry Wordsworth

On Remembrance Sunday, the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra was joined by an incredible young cellist, Gemma Rosefield, in a performance at the Brighton Dome.

The Philharmonic Orchestra, understandably, might not seem a gripping musical opportunity to some people of our generation, and indeed upon arriving at the dome foyer, while standing at the bar ordering a rose lemonade (it seemed apt amongst the beautiful decor of the Brighton Dome), I was told ‘You don’t usually see people young people at these concerts!’

I could see plainly that this was true, and sadly I couldn’t say I was surprised. I think everyone prides themselves on a varied and somewhat ‘unique’ music taste, it seems that more varied your iPod, the higher you rank your musical knowledge. With this in mind, I know quite a few friends that have the likes of infamous, Adagio For Strings or Madame Butterfly on a playlist, somewhere. However there’s a distinction between keeping the work of Hans Zimmer on your iPod for a rainy day, and actually paying to truly take in the experience of live classical music. Unfortunately, young people just don’t seem that interested in orchestral performances.

Yet, the Orchestra’s performance on Sunday was simply captivating.

The concert opened with Elgar’s enchanting ballet, The Sanguine Fan, one of the pieces of music he composed to aid wartime charities. The historical significance of the ballet was incredibly moving, the way the music conveyed the composer’s light attempts to escape the horrors of the First Wold War was just touching and there was a real sense of this amongst the audience. The fact that it was remembrance Sunday made the musical piece all the more powerful, and there was a true sense of gratitude as the audience refused to stop applauding.

The Guest cellist, Gemma Rosefield was inspirational, to say the least. She played on a cello created in 1704 in Naples. A cello which was once owned and played by the Prince Regent, later becoming King George IV. He was actually thought to be a talented player of the Cello, and so the instrument was held at the pavilion for a long while. Thus, the homecoming of the cello was very poignant and Gemma literally brought the instrument to life. She artfully controlled it, and in awe, the audience watched her dominate the stage, skilfully engaging an old and beautiful sound.

The main performance was given by the Orchestra alone, playing Schubert’s Great C major Symphony. I can’t pretend to be an orchestral expert, but in no way do you have to be in order to acknowledge the powerful delight of this Symphony. This heavenly, exciting piece of music can be appreciated by anybody. Music like this will never fail to mesmerise.

There was no dance floor, no dancing, like I’m used to at concerts, but it was impossible to leave the concert hall unmoved. Amongst the audience there was a real sense of appreciation and enchantment. Like any good concert, I left feeling like I wanted to listen to it all again and again, I felt sincerely humbled and relaxed.

The Dome offers students 50% off these events, as well as many other amazing student offers. If you’re interested, visit their website.

By Polly Wyatt

The Verse Staff

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