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Heritage Playlist: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra 1969/70

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and Colston Hall have a long history; stretching right back to the 19th century, not long after the orchestra’s inception in 1893. During the 1950s the Orchestra began regularly perfoming at Colston Hall, and on 20 September 1967 the Orchestra gave a momentous concert to mark Colston Hall’s centenary, with celebrated Principal Conductor of that era, Constantin Silvestri at the helm.

With BSO’s new Bristol Concert Season commencing next month, we delve 50 years into that shared history, to the 1969/70 season. Heritage Fund-supported Lantern Project volunteers, Duncan and Debbie, have curated a playlist of pieces that were played by BSO that season.

Step back in time and have a listen to the playlist, which includes some recordings that feature the same soloists that graced Colston Hall’s stage 50 years ago.

Listening notes

Pianist Joaquin Achucarro plays Rhapsody on a Theme By Paganini

Joaquin Achucarro, the Basque Spanish pianist, has played with 206 orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1969, he played the ever-popular Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninov with the BSO. This recording of the work was performed 2015 when Joaquin was 83 years old.

Constantin Silvestri conducts BSO in Stravinsky’s The Firebird

Constantin Silvestri was the BSO’s Principal Conductor from 1962 until his death in early 1969. Under his guidance the orchestra gained its first international recognition. The orchestra celebrated his life and work in a memorial concert at Colston Hall in December 1969. Here is a recording of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, performed by the orchestra and Silvestri shortly before he died.

Composer Nicholas Maw’s Sinfonia for chamber orchestra

British composer Nicholas Maw, wrote his Sinfonia for chamber orchestra in 1966. The work was performed at Colston Hall by the BSO in January 1970. Although Maw is relatively unknown, his work was regularly commissioned to write for musical institutions in the UK. Described as Sibelius-like, Sinfonia is played here in full by the BBC Scottish Orchestra.

Principal Conductor George Hurst conducts the BSO

George Hurst was the de facto Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) between 1969 and 1972. He recorded Holst’s The Planets suite in 1974 with the BSO and we’ve chosen the final movement, ‘Neptune, the Mystic’ as an example of the orchestra’s work under Hurst’s baton. 

Violinist Ida Haendal performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto

Ida Haendal was a solo violinist of considerable talent. She was a child prodigy with a career spanning over 70 years, touring widely and recording for Decca and EMI. We’ve chosen her recording of the first movement from Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, a work which she performed with the BSO in March 1970.                                                       

Pianist Rudolf Firkusny performs Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto

Rudolf Firkusny performed with the BSO in April 1970. He became well known for performing the piano works of Czech composers but his wide-ranging repertoire also included the works of Chopin and Beethoven. At Colston Hall, he performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5  – the recording here was produced in 1957. 

The Lantern Project

As part of our project to transform the hall, the National Lottery Heritage Fund are supporting us in preserving our archives for future generations to enjoy and find out about our cultural heritage.

Click here for more information on Colston Hall’s Transformation project.

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The Transformation of Colston Hall and The Lantern Project are supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund; the leading advocate for the value of heritage and the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK.

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