Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra offers an unashamedly Romantic programme

Stephen Bell
Stephen Bell

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra is back at Brighton Dome on Sunday, February 10 (2.45pm).

In the first half we visit two amazing talents of the late Romantic era – two German composers who changed the face not only of Romanticism, but the sound and energy of the orchestra.

Two Richards, Wagner and Strauss, who were two of the most influential composers of the century. We welcome back Stephen Bell to conduct this unashamedly Romantic programme.

When you listen to Wagner, and especially the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, you are drawn into an amazing orchestral world of colour, sound and brilliance. Wagner was born in 1813 – he was 14 when Beethoven died – and to put this into context Brahms was born in 1833 and died in 1897. Wagner himself died in 1883. So Germany had within its midst two colossal composers working in parallel universes – in an amazing few years of composition Wagner had written a collection of ground breaking operas including the Ring cycle – an amazing feat considering he wrote the librettos as well. The Prelude and Liebestod was written and performed a few years before Wagner completed the opera in 1865.

The Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss are probably the most poignant and heartfelt songs for soprano and orchestra ever written, and culminate an incredible journey of composition by Strauss – he knew as he wrote these songs that they would be the last pieces he would compose. There are four songs in the cycle: Frühling (Spring), September, Beim Schlafengehen (When Falling Asleep) and Im Abendrot (At Sunset). The poem At Sunset was written by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff; the other poems were written by Hermann Hesse. The songs’ first performance was given at the Royal Albert Hall in 1850, two years after the composer’s death. The songs other than Spring dwell on death and are full of soaring melodies for soprano and orchestra. All the songs create a sense of calm and acceptance, and Strauss, the master orchestrator, creates this with poignant melody and orchestral solos in this masterclass of orchestration. We are delighted to welcome the soprano Camilla Roberts in these beautiful songs.

For the second half we travel to Russia and meet a composer hugely influenced by the folk songs of his homeland. Reinhold Glière was a gifted composition student at the Moscow Conservatoire at the dawn of the 20th century. He composed this brilliantly crafted symphony, full of vibrant tunes, at age 25. A loyal Russian, he kept out of the politics of the time and was an influential teacher of composition – Prokofiev being one of his pupils.

This concert will be dedicated to the memory of one of the BPO’s most popular violinists Melanie Hornsby, who lost her fight with cancer last year. We would also like to say a huge thank you to the Macmillan Nurses who cared so brilliantly for her at the end of her life.

Tickets £12.90-£39.50 (50% students and under 18s, children £1). Call 01273 709709. Discounted parking available at NCP Church Street (£6 between 1pm and 6pm).

Ten things to see in East Sussex, Friday to Thursday, February 1-7 Click here to find out more.