Quite a double act

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As always, the combination of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Brighton Festival Chorus proved a heady mix for the Dome faithful on Sunday and with the second concert in the season being a Bachfest, it was surprising to see quite so many empty seats.

The shortened 89th BPO season only just got the green light in the nick of time and while numerous individuals rallied around and generously put hands in pockets, it still needs regular ticket sales to secure the future of such a worthy local institution.

Musical director Barry Wordsworth has done his best to encourage that by offering a programme heavily featuring classical music’s greats. You do not get any bigger than Beethoven and Bach, while third in line on December 8 will be Tchaikovsky.

The Bach offering was showcased by the second half performance of Carl Philipp Emanuel’s Magnificat. This superb work was done full justice by the combined efforts of Brighton’s two major musical heavyweights, ably supported by soloists Lucy Hall (soprano), Catherine Carby (mezzo), James Edwards (tenor) and Alexander Robin Baker (baritone).

The extensive Bach dynasty could hardly be properly covered in a 75-minute programme but the father of them all, Johann Sebastian, opened proceedings with his Orchestral Suite No 3 and was followed by son Johann Christian’s Sinfonia Opus 18, No 2.

That warmed us up nicely for the main dish and with the ladies more than punching their weight in the 130-strong BFC, it was a stirring performance.

Chris Francis