IT WAS a case of off with the old and on with the new – well up to a point – as the excellent Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra staged their popular New Year’s Eve Viennese Concert at the Dome.
The orchestra’s esteemed leader John Bradbury took over as concert master and drew on all his 10 years experience as director of Johann Strauss Gala performances for the Raymond Gubbay empire to produce an informed and different concert from the recent norm for this annual fund-raising event for the John Carewe Brighton Orchestra Trust.
No doubt Bradbury was grateful to have his first team of principal soloists in support and they were rewarded in varying degrees with prominent parts.
Principal trumpet John Ellwood took the spotlight for Johann Strauss II’s Memories of Covent Garden, inspired by popular cockney songs of the day and based principally on the music hall favourite Champagne Charlie, while there was a delightful interchange between Bradbury and cello supremo Peter Adams in Kreisler’s Schon Rosmarin, one of three pieces arranged by the new concert master to help give the afternoon a different feel.
But needless to say all the old favourites were there, with Emperor Waltz ending the first half and the majestic Blue Danube concluding the official programme before the obligatory encore was rounded off in traditional fashion by the Radetzky March, where the audience are encouraged to play a full part.
Anyone who felt withdrawal symptoms over the absence of usual New Year’s Eve conductor Stephen Bell will not have long to wait to have those feelings soothed as he takes the baton for the first concert of the new year on Sunday, January 16, when violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and cellist Gemma Rosefield are the featured soloists in a programme of Tchaikovsky and Delius.