REVIEW: Robert Cohen at the Dome

SUNDAY audiences at the Dome are being spoiled.

After the superb guitar playing of Craig Ogden last month it was the consummate cello playing of Robert Cohen that highlighted the penultimate concert in the Brighton Philharmonic’s 87th season.

Having studied under the likes of Rostropovich and du Pre, and invited to perform under the batons of Abbado, Mackerras and Rattle, the pedigree of the man is undoubted and he is now a renowned teacher in his own right.

With the heady mix of Cohen, one of the truly iconic cello virtuoso pieces and the BPO under Barry Wordsworth, it was hardly surprising there were few empty seats and the Dome faithful were not disappointed.

In a quintessentially English first half, the order of the programme being tweaked at the last minute by Wordsworth, Cohen’s sublime performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto was surely as fresh as when he first recorded the piece at age 19.

With Arnold Bax’s evocative Tintagel and Vaughan Williams’ Norfolk Rhapsody, which featured the orchestra’s principal viola Rachel Gibson, it was a true celebration of Englishness before the second half was devoted to Dvorak’s Symphony No 8, where the master tunesmith is seen at his melodic and Bohemian best.

The final concert of the current season is on March 25 when BPO president John Lill is the virtuoso star in a programme of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3, Debussy’s Prelude a L’Apres midi d’une and the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique.

Review by Chris Francis