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Prom 25: Gabetta/BBCSO/Stasevska review – stirring and spirited



This was Dalia Stasevska ’s debut as the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s new principal guest conductor – an appointment that makes her, at 34, both the youngest person and the first woman to hold a titled conducting post at a major London orchestra. The players’ responsiveness to her suggests a strong rapport already developing; the silence in a packed Royal Albert Hall at the end of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6 suggests that she can hold an audience in her hand just as surely. It had been the bleakest of endings to a stirring performance of the symphony, spirited and with a few edges left raw, its dark moments made more vivid by the BBCSO players’ grittiness.

Opening the concert, Sibelius’s Karelia Suite had likewise sounded familiar yet fresh, the middle movement fluid and pensive, the outer ones skipping along, feet barely touching the ground, the orchestra always ready to move when Stasevska whipped things up.