Daniil Trifonov Plays Liszt

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 Concert Package, SoundBite,

Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 and Piano Music

Wednesday 1st October

Town Hall, Birmingham

Daniil Trifonov piano

J S Bach Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, Great (arr Liszt) 8’
Rachmaninov Variations on a Theme of Chopin
Liszt 12 Études d’exécution transcendante 65’

Encore – Debussy – Reflets dans l’eau

Daniil Trifonov is surely one of the most talked-about pianists of our time, and what more thrilling way to open the 2014/15 Birmingham International Concert Season than with his first ever solo recital in Birmingham?

Bach and (Beethoven Piano Sonata in C Minor replaced by Rachmaninov) demonstrate the depth of his insight; Liszt’s Transcendental Études reveal the full, dazzling extent of his virtuosity.

Panufnik Centenary

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Wednesday 24 September 2014 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal  conductor
Peter Donohoe  piano

Stravinsky: Greeting Prelude 1′
Beethoven: Overture, Leonora No. 3 14′
Panufnik: Piano Concerto 24′
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Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde 18′
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Watch on YouTube

Panufnik: Symphony No.2 (Sinfonia Elegiaca) 24′
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When Andrzej Panufnik escaped from communist Poland, Britain offered him a home – and so it was that one of Europe’s greatest post-war composers became principal conductor of the CBSO. Tonight, on what would have been his 100th birthday, we celebrate with some of the music Panufnik conducted in Birmingham, and two of his own finest works: as fresh and communicative today as when he conducted them here himself.

Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of Polska Music programme Polska Music

If you like this concert, you might also like:
War and Peace, Thursday 6th November
Brahms and Beethoven, Wednesday 25th March 2015 & Saturday 28 March 2015
Parsifal, Sunday 17th May 2015

 

Pre-concert talk at 6.15pm
Panufnik Centenary
Composer Roxanna Panufnik talks about her father Andrzej, in conversation with Jessica Duchen.

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Interview with Roxanna Panufnik, by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full article

“With possibly the neatest scheduling ever, the CBSO’s concert at Symphony Hall on September 24 celebrates the centenary to the day of the birth of one of its previous principal conductors, Andrzej Panufnik.

Born in Warsaw into a highly musical family, and with a mother of British origins, Panufnik studied composition and conducting during the years preceding the Second World War. The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 saw the destruction of his works (he reconstructed some later), and after a post-war period conducting orchestras in Warsaw and Krakow Panufnik decided to devote himself to composition.

Hugely patriotic, he loathed the Stalinist regime then prevailing in his native country, and in 1954, whilst in Switzerland conducting recordings of his own music, he and his British-born first wife managed to escape to the West.

In 1956 it was announced that principal conductor Rudolf Schwarz would be leaving the CBSO at the end of the season to succeed Sir Malcolm Sargent at the helm of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the hunt was on for Schwarz’ replacement. Rather similar to the process going on now at the CBSO, as they seek a successor to Andris Nelsons, guest conductors were invited to give “audition” concerts, and Panufnik was among them.”     …

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Review by Richard Whitehouse, ClassicalSource:

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…     “Nor was Donohoe fazed by the uncoiled aggression of the Molto agitato finale, which fuses elements from its predecessors (powered by some visceral work from the percussion) as well as building to a bracing apotheosis via an accompanied cadenza such as ranks with the composer’s most thrilling passages. A timely revival of an impressive work.

Following the interval, the ‘Prelude and Liebestod’ from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1859) further opened out the concert’s expressive remit – Seal keeping the former’s distanced ambiguity in focus on the way to a fervent culmination and fatalistic close, while ensuring that the ‘Liebestod’ brought the requisite transcendence during its radiant closing pages. Not music one might readily associate with Panufnik, yet it was an overt presence in that of Szymanowski – in turn an early (and an obliquely enduring) influence on his Polish successor.

Transcendence of a different kind is evinced in Sinfonia elegiaca – the second of Panufnik’s ten Symphonies, completed in 1957 on the basis of material from his discarded Symphony of Peace of six years earlier. Shorn of its propagandist choral component, the piece stands as a finely achieved statement at a time of personal and political turmoil – whose three continuous movements move from a Molto andante that alternates between pensive woodwind chorale and ravishing string cantilena, via a Molto allegro whose barbarity is (just) held in check by its formal subtlety, to another Molto andante such as utilises earlier ideas along with a new string threnody before it ethereally recollects the work’s opening. A committed response from the CBSO was ably controlled by Seal to the evident appreciation of the audience.”     …

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Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Various composers were brought to mind here: bustling Prokofiev, night-music Bartok, stark Ives, rippling Ravel, but all of them assimilated into an urgently communicative personality all Panufnik’s own.

Even more urgent is Panufnik’s Symphony no.2, the “Sinfonia Elegiaca”, an anti-war protest against violence and aggression, and given its British première here in 1958.

Tellingly scored, generously melodic, and unflinching dramatic (such blaring horns in the central section’s mad display of violence), this is a work of immense emotional and musical strength, and deserves a whole raft of hearings, not least in these times where we remember and where we dread.

The CBSO responded with grateful enthusiasm.

For the rest, we heard Stravinsky’s wittily precise Greeting Prelude, a Beethoven Leonore no.3 Overture in which Seal drew a huge sound from the CBSO which only Symphony Hall could comfortably accommodate (portentous offstage trumpet, too), and a Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde phrased and shaped with a well-judged feel for the music’s harmonic pacing.”

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Review by Roderic Dunnett, MusicWeb SeenandHeard:

Click here for full review

…     “……And profundity. For if this memorable concert, which included a massive tranche of Wagner’s Tristan and for some the most satisfying of Beethoven’s overtures to Fidelio, the almost symphonic Leonore no. 3, both in handsome performances from all the orchestral sections (duly congratulated at the end) under Seal’s sensibly judged leadership, stirred the depths of emotion – that of the love-lorn Leonora and love-torn Isolde – it was in Panufnik’s second symphony (the second of ten), the Sinfonia Elegiaca (Panufnik, a year younger than Britten, liked such titles: Sacra, Rustica, Mystica, Votiva), a profound lament for war and its victims of all kind (the composer lived through the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto, and the fatal 1944 uprising encouraged by Russia and crushed by the Nazis, but he widens his vision to a worldwide conspectus of suffering), with its a slow-fast-slow (ie double-andante, almost double-adagio layout) that from its almost Vaughan Williams-like, nervously serene opening generates a grieving one might look for in, say, Shostakovich 7, Tchaikovsky 6 or the aching tragedy of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s 1939 Concerto Funèbre.

Panufnik’s determination to work with tiny cells – major-minor thirds, or elsewhere seconds – reflects a Beethovenian precision and a Haydnesque incisiveness. It worked better here, in this elegy, than in his Piano Concerto, despite Peter Donohoe’s valiant efforts, looking a bit like a peak-scaling John Ogdon, to make multiple decoration work. Such toccata-like writing put one in mind of Malcolm Williamson’s similar propensity in Hyperion’s magnificent new recording of all Williamson’s piano concerti, CDA 68011/2. But it did not impact in the way this magnificent and moving symphony, punctuated by massive CBSO brass ostinati did, an opening cor anglais elegy, and strange feelings from string harmonics at both the start and chiasmic close that sounded almost bewilderingly like that rarely-used French instrument, the theremin, which generates such eerie terror in the film noir scores of Miklós Rózsa. If one had to compare Panufnik’s strange brand of modalism to another, it might just be to near-neighbour Kodály at his height.”     …

 

Beethoven Week: The Choral Symphony

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Sunday 21st September 2014 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Annette Dasch  soprano
Lioba Braun  mezzo soprano
Ben Johnson  tenor
Vuyani Mlinde  bass
CBSO Chorus  

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 27′
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (Choral) 67′
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Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is the summit of any Beethoven cycle – and some might say, the whole of classical music. But there’s a lifetime of experience to live through before we get to that final, transcendent Ode To Joy, and Beethoven’s explosive little Eighth Symphony launches a concert that’s sure to be one of the most talked-about events in Birmingham this year.

Supported by The Mailbox

If you like this concert, you might also like:
War and Peace, Thursday 6th November
Schubert’s Great, Wednesday 14th January 2015 & Saturday 17th January 2015
Brahms and Beethoven, Wednesday 25th March 2015 & Saturday 28th March 2015

£12.50, £19, £25, £34, £39, £44 plus transaction fee*

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Review by Rian Evans, Guardian:

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…     “Plaudits first to the glorious CBSO chorus, their discipline making Beethoven’s huge demands on them appear negligible: intonation and enunciation of Schiller’s words wereimpeccable, and the care given to the oft-repeated word‚ “brüder” underlining the aspiration to peaceful brotherhood had its own powerfully cumulative effect. The orchestra, too, was in optimum form: details precisely honed, while also sustaining the almost Wagnerian expansiveness that Nelsons brought to the phrasing. The Eighth Symphony, a world away from the lofty ideals of the Ninth, had carried the same balance of a dancing grace with dramatically explosive bursts of rhythmic energy.

But from the quietly arresting opening, it was the organic progress of the Ninth that held the attention, with the contemplative heart of the slow adagio allowing the choral finale to emerge as a logical conclusion to everything so far. South African Vuyani Mlinde who sang the stirring bass solo, joined with soloists Annette Dasch, Lioba Braun and Ben Johnson, to push the reluctant Nelsons on for a solo bow. Nothing to do with him, he tried to suggest, only the genius of Beethoven.”

*****

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “The cycle culminated in a magnificent ninth: a scherzo of relentless energy, a slow movement wafted in from a beatific realm, an orchestral recitative which really spoke and a well-integrated quartet of soloists in Annette Dasch, Lioba Braun, Ben Johnson and Vuyani Mlinde who were equal to Beethoven’s demands.

And of course there’s the tremendous 130-strong CBSO Chorus, under their associate conductor David Lawrence, their articulation and attack enhanced by having the score in their heads rather than their heads in the score.

If the CBSO is the crowning glory of Birmingham’s musical life then its Chorus is the jewel in that crown.

In Schiller’s Ode to Joy, the celebrants are described as “feuertrunken” (drunk on fire) and often the orchestra played like that – intoxicated by Beethoven’s music, soaring on a natural high which infected the audience with their enthusiasm and brought us all within the enchanted circle for the duration of each work. It was a privilege to be invited in.”

 

Beethoven Week: The Pastoral

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Saturday 20th September 2014 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral) 40′
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 36′
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From spring-fresh opening to serene finish, there’s no experience in music more life-affirming than Beethoven’s lovely Pastoral Symphony. And there’s none more gloriously, exuberantly, physical than his unstoppable Seventh – the piece that made even Richard Wagner get up and dance! Andris Nelsons’ journey through Beethoven’s symphonies reaches two of the most enduringly popular masterpieces in all music.

Beethoven Week: The Ghost 5.45pm – FREE pre-concert performance by Trio Severn. Beethoven: Piano Trio in D Op. 70 No. 1 (The Ghost)

Supported by The Mailbox

If you like this concert, you might also like:
Panufnik Centenary, Wednesday 24th September
War and Peace, Thursday 6th November
Brahms and Beethoven, Wednesday 25th March 2015 & Saturday 28th March 2015

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Support the CBSO

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Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Against the backdrop of strings, lovely woodwind birdsong punctuated the fresh clean air. There followed a stark change in meteorological conditions with the drama of a thunderstorm, prefaced by ominous bass rumblings and pattering raindrops in the violins. The general rumpus of the full-blown storm featured the excitement of excellent brass and – a stroke of Beethoven’s genius – upward figures on lower strings at variable speeds, producing a blurred, somewhat disorientating effect. Nelsons, clearly in control of this apparent mayhem, virtually threw the thunder, javelin-fashion, at charismatic timpanist Matthew Perry.

The colours of sunshine returned to draw the symphony to a close, via repetitions of familiar themes and emotional dynamics. The “happy, thankful feelings” of this movement’s title summed it up perfectly. There’s something life-affirming about the Pastoral, and I would gladly have listened to it all again.

Symphony No. 7 was written when Beethoven had been suffering from ill health and depression. Recommended to spend the summer of 1811 in the spa town of Teplitz, a peaceful spot in troubled times, he certainly demonstrated no loss of creativity, his stay proving the catalyst for not only the 7th Symphony but also the 8th and 9th. Luckily the intensity of this and recent weeks’ music-making apparently hadn’t adversely affected the CBSO’s energy levels, as the 7th Symphony is laden with muscular dance rhythms, manic fury and grand themes requiring dynamism in every sense.  Nelsons’ conducting style tended towards the minimalist at times, often hinging on facial expressions and his relative proximity to the players, yet he drew out every nuance of emotionally-charged strings, navigating their way through the madcap momentum of the long-short-short rhythmic pattern. The central Presto section stole the show, if the swaying of my neighbours was any indication, but just when you thought it couldn’t get any more dramatic the full orchestra went full-tilt at the finale’s dual, unprecedented fff climaxes.”     …

 

Beethoven Week: The Fifth Symphony

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Thursday 18 September 2014 at 2.15pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 32′
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 36′
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“Thus Fate knocks at the door!” Everyone’s heard the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but if that’s all you’ve heard, you’re in for a thrilling surprise, as Andris Nelsons’ Beethoven cycle arrives at the most famous symphony of all time. Prepare to be electrified – and to be delighted by the Fifth’s prettier, funnier little sister: the joyous Fourth Symphony.

http://www.cbso.co.uk

Support the CBSO

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Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

Click here for full review

…     “The second concert consisted of the Fourth and Fifth, given as an afternoon matinee. Both symphonies were electrically charged affairs and, after eight weeks of Proms in the cotton-wool acoustics of the Albert Hall, returning to the immediacy and precision of sound in the crowded Symphony Hall was a delight in itself.

Nelsons’ treatment of the Fourth was startling. Like all outstanding conductors, he has the precious ability to conjure something unexpectedly brilliant out of thin air. He did it a year ago in another matinee concert with the CBSO in Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, and Beethoven’s Fourth here was cut from the same cloth. Its slow introduction seemed pregnant with dramatic possibilities, and what followed exploited most of them, with every rhythm sprung, every chord perfectly balanced, the perpetuum mobile of the finale fabulously precise, and Nelsons’ repertoire of podium gestures becoming ever more extravagant: a star jump, arms aloft, both feet well off the ground, was a new one to me.”     …

Beethoven Week: The Eroica

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Tuesday 16 September 2014 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 25′
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 34′
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) 47′
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The symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven are the greatest journey any conductor and orchestra can take together, and tonight, Andris Nelsons and the CBSO begin that adventure once more. The first two symphonies are the sound of a young genius stretching his wings and then, with the two mighty chords that open the Eroica, changing music forever. They’ll knock you backwards.

Supported by The Mailbox

If you like this concert, you might also like:
Panufnik Centenary, Wednesday 24th September
War and Peace, Thursday 6th November
Brahms and Beethoven, Wednesday 25th March & Saturday 28th March, 2015

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Review by Geoff Brown, Times ££

Click here for full review

 

CBSO Opens New Season – Support your orchestra

“CBSO opens new season amid £1m fundraising plea

Symphony orchestra in battle to raise huge amount of money after facing budget cuts of 24 per cent since 2010

The CBSO will open its new season tonight with a plea to concert goers to help it raise £1 million to support the company after it was hit by budget cuts.

The orchestra, which will be performing the complete Beethoven symphonies over six days at Symphony Hall from tonight, has seen its funding cut by 24 per cent since 2010.

It says it needs the extra cash to support its work delivering key concerts, providing musical opportunities for youngsters and to continue with its four-year major community project in Perry Barr to commemorate the First World War.

The orchestra, which is planning its centenary in 2020, says it is looking to raise £1 million to support its work this year, around 80 per cent of which has already been committed.

Players from the orchestra are writing personally to thousands of regular concert goers with an appeal to raise £50,000 after an anonymous supporter pledged to match fund every £1 up to £50,000.

The CBSO has won international acclaim for its concerts and performs for more than 200,000 people each year”     …  http://www.birminghampost.co.uk
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