Bournemouth SO/ Yakov Kreizberg Poole Arts Centre, Dorset
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra opened its new season in ambitious manner on Friday with Mahler's Third Symphony conducted by Yakov Kreizberg. This is Kreizberg's third season, and the rigorous training the BSO has received at the hands of a Principal Conductor with such an acute technical command continues to pay dividends. Ensemble was alert, rhythms were razor sharp; all the details in the symphony's opening pages - the awkward triplets on trombones and timpani, doubling the trumpets' main motif, the easily fudged trills for the bassoons, the woodwind chording, the erupting scales in the cellos and basses - were made to tell. Tuttis made a strong impact in the modest but acoustically friendly confines of the Wessex Hall. Orchestral soloists too numerous to mention offered, in the main, notably well-articulated and considered contributions; the crucial trombone solos in the first movement were at times insecure, but the off-stage posthorn in the third movement was sonorously tender and poetic.

Just as importantly, Kreizberg encouraged a read of this epic symphony which was deeply moving as well as technically impressive. The first movement's grand, half-hour progress was powerfully conveyed; the only fault lay in too great a slackening of tension in one or two of the quieter episodes. The lilting phrasing of the second movement and the bucolic rhythms of the third suggested a surprisingly close and relaxed identification with Mahler's more vernacular and naive side. While Jean Rigby's mezzo-soprano solos in the fourth and fifth movements lacked ideal focus and raptness, the Highcliffe Junior Choir and Bournemouth Symphony Ladies Chorus made precise and telling contributions to the fifth. The long finale was searingly passionate, the rendering of its concluding apotheosis gloriously alive both to the richness of Mahler's orchestration and to the visionary heart of the composer's inspiration.

As if this weren't enough for one evening, Kreizberg returned after an interval to play the two-piano arrangement of Stravinsky's Petrushka with Paul Mann, assistant conductor of both Bourne-mouth orchestras, adding Chris Guy playing some "assorted ad hoc percussion". This witty, delightful performance boded well for the series of "post-concert concerts" on offer this season.