The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes, performed ten immensely popular works from the Romantic period.

Starting with Rossini, the first half included The Rose Adagio and the Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, ending with the finale of Saen-Saëns Organ Symphony, in which Robert Court gave the St. Davids Hall organ a thunderous airing, and the audience a rare experience.

It is one thing to hear these works on a CD or the radio, it is an entirely different experience to hear them live. From the initial snare drum opening of Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie Overture, right through many memorable moments like the always present rich string sonorities, particularly noticeable in the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), brilliant wind and brass playing, especially in the wonderful orchestrated Scheherazade by Rimsky Korsakov.

The second half started with Elgars Pomp and Circumstance March no 4, with its clever ending of two tunes played together. The second work was excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen - Prelude, Aragonaise, Intermezzo and the ever popular Toreador Song. Brilliant woodwind playing, absolute precise and vibrant rhythms, especially in the Aragonaise, but above all a complete symbiotic relationship between the conductor and the orchestra.

More superb orchestration in the Danses Polovtsiennes by Borodin, a gem of Salut d’amour by Elgar, through to the last work of the evening, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. Poignant opening with just 4 ‘cellos and 2 violas, through to two national anthems, the French Marseillaise and the Russian God save the Tsar.

And a thunderous ending earned a standing ovation. Well deserved.

By Paul Green