On 27 October, I was fortunate to hear and photograph Bruckner’s majestic Eighth Symphony in my local church. At around 80 minutes long and demanding a large orchestra, it’s rarely played at the best of times, let alone outside concert halls in major cities. With its wide nave and high ceiling, Romsey Abbey was the ideal venue for Bruckner symphones – ‘cathedrals in sound’, as they are often dubbed.
This performance was by the Charity Symphony Orchestra under Southampton-based conductor Craig Lawton. He skilfully paced Bruckner’s long musical paragraphs and, in particular, built the final section to a magificent peroration before the brief, decisive coda.
Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman opened the concert with a restless, storm-tossed seascape. It was followed by the Good Friday music from his last music-drama Parsifal, which to me had a rea; pastoral feel in places. Dominic Harries and Paul Ingram shared the conducting duties in this half.