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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra across Bristol

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra have had a stunning year, but with the season coming to a close and Colston Hall commencing our £48.8m project to transform the hall, take a look at highlights from the BSO’s upcoming season in Bristol in the coming autumn.

October’s concert focuses on some of the classical genre’s most famous names: Beethoven and Mozart. Mozart’s Serenade no. 10, ‘Gran Partita’, is rarely performed in comparison to the prolific programming of his symphonies and concertos but is an exquisite exploration of the personalities of the versatile wind instruments. The characterful staccato and playful melodies are a refreshing reminder of the warmth and depth that a wind ensemble can achieve. The BSO continue their Mozart theme throughout the season, with performances of symphonies 26 and 29, alongside his Piano Concerto no. 21, in the new year.

Accompanying the sweetness of Mozart’s Serenade is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. It’s a wonderful programme: the potential glimpsed in Mozart’s wind exposition blossoms in the first movement of the symphony, which opens with the same playful, dancing feel that permeates the Mozart. Beethoven brings a depth to the style that opens up the music to new levels of emotion: the driving melodies become moments of power; the delicate tensions succumb to a breathless beauty. The famous, heart-wrenching melody of the second movement is one of the most exquisitely tender moments in classical music: a moment of sadness that grows into despair, knotting tension in the audience.

By contrast, the BSO’s November concert is an exploration of some of the 20th century’s most influential composers. English composer William Walton is paired with Russians Shostakovich and Stravinsky for an exposition of what are arguably some of the best melody-writers to come out of the last century. The concert opens with Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite: unlike his later works, Pulcinella is neo-classical in style, borrowing from the languishing melodic lines and driving playful rhythms of Haydn and Mozart, culminating in a whirlwind 25 minutes of music covers the entire original ballet score featuring an eclectic collection of characters.

Walton’s Cello Concerto takes quite a different tack, balancing the beauty and turbulence of music from the romantic period with modern compositional style. At times tortured and fierce, others soft and ethereal, Walton is a composer to jump at the opportunity to listen to – this especially demanding concerto is eight minutes of your life you will never regret experiencing.

To top off an evening of high emotions, the BSO will finish with Shostakovich’s First Symphony, written when he was just 19. The rich opening duet of trumpet and bassoon is almost comically orchestrated, belying the underlying skill and maturity that the piece so clearly has. Shostakovich captures tension in rich, close, dreamy harmonies, writing with skill and dexterity and a freedom that is lost in some of his later works. Here we have the first major work of a composer who knows the orchestra inside out, with dextrous writing for everything from tuned percussion to the piano and en-masse virtuosic passages.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are always a treat to have in Bristol, and with the star-studded programmes coming up in the next year there’s a concert for everyone.

Take a look at the full BSO 2018/19 season listings here and individual concert listings below.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra 2018/19 season

Divine Sublime
Victoria Rooms, Fri 12 Oct 2018
Tickets and information

Unmistakable Voices
Victoria Rooms, Fri 30 Nov 2018
Tickets and information

Natural Beauty
Bath Forum, Sat 9 Feb 2019
Tickets and information

Fateful Fourth
Victoria Rooms, Fri 22 Feb 2019
Tickets and information

Williams v Zimmer
Bath Forum, Fri 22 Mar 2019
Tickets and information

Past and Present
St George’s Bristol, Fri 3 May 2019
Tickets and information

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