BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA
M&G Civic Concert
The BBC Concert Orchestra packed the Civic stage for a tea-time trio of great romantic works.
None more romantic than Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, famously written for his wife and performed as a birthday surprise on the stairs to her bedroom. A lusher, more robust sound from this much bigger band, with brilliant woodwind blossoms emerging from the luxuriant foliage of the strings.
Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto is a later work, though it inhabits a similar romantic landscape. Soloist Gareth Hulse, the BBCCO's principal oboe, gave an eloquent account of this reflective, autumnal work, with a lively, nimble Allegro opening, and a mellow tone for the serene Andante.
To close, Dvorak's Eighth Symphony, in an excitingly exuberant reading. Conductor Michael Collins managed the mood swings skilfully: majestic, tranquil, turbulent, lilting, culminating in thrillingly white-knuckle final bars.
A first visit to the Civic from this most versatile of the BBC bands – let's hope it will be the first of many.