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Friday 17 May 2013

Btn Fest Review - Veronika Eberle Stole The Show As BBC Symphony Orchestra Brought A Touch Of Class To Brighton Dome

Was Veronika Eberle Playing Mendelssohn or was Mendelssohn playing Veronika Eberle? (BBC Symphony Orchestra at Dome Concert Hall, Brighton).



Like a woman possessed, in her bright blue bell beau ball-gown, all Moira Shearer in 'Red Shoes', Eberle was like some crazed marionette of the music, it was as if the violin solo, memorised in her head by months of practice, was controlling her -and not the other way around- as if it were some demonic puppet master bent on her destruction.

Like some crazed jazzman her instrument seemed to move her body, pushing and pulling at it as if all life had passed into this wooden thing and her body was its plaything, its extension. 

On and on and on she went, her body, even when not playing, swayed to the music, her eyes tight shut and her all immersed in the music like something from tales of ancient Druidic herbs or the Oracular Pythoness swaying to Greek Delphic temple fumes. 

Never manic always poised, yet still under the direct spell of the music, without doubt she stole this concert right out from under the noses of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (just). 


This rendition of Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto E minor was a fine and passionate affair, the orchestra strings all moving together, cello-arms see sawing across and back in sea-saw waves of bows that flowed like the winds across the stormy sea that fronts this city. 

The BBCSO were in full flight last night and no mistake.

The evening started out with the Adagio (Symphony no. 2) by Klaus Amadeus Hartmann. 

As a German who lived in the 1930s and 1940s, Hartmann trod the line without being tainted by fascism or communism, writing work condemning the events in Dachau concentration camp, but later staying in Germany yet remaining silent to avoid an untimely death. 

Likewise his music has defied categorisation, he never adhered to any one school of music or movement, but reinvented his style with each new work. 


This was a powerful and disturbing work, not the kind of music to nod off quietly to either.

Brahms' Symphony No.4 in E Minor finished the evening off well. 

The original arrangement for two pianos was described by the critic Eduard Hanslick as 'being beaten over the head by two clever men'. Funny, that reminds me of an Apparat concert I went to recently.

This is not one of my favourites but it was still well worth a listen by an orchestra who seemed to draw only the best from it. 

Proceedings were conducted by the chirpy James Gaffigan who was born in 1979, the year I grew up and as such makes feel very, very old indeed.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra were  wonderful guests at the Dome Concert hall last night. 

They are yet more proof, not only of the consistently high quality of the classical concerts this Festival has hosted, but how damn lucky we are to have one at all.

There were empty seats in the Dome Concert Hall last night and there should not have been. 

If you missed this then you missed out.

Brighton Festival continues throughout this month. See brightonfestival.org for more details.


by: Howard Young (Arts Editor)


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