Great Romantics

Saturday 28 November 2009 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Nikolai Lugansky  piano

Liadov: The Enchanted Lake 7′
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3 44′
Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 36′

Dvorák always insisted that he liked nothing more than listening to a Czech village band. And no wonder, if they sounded anything like the slow movement of his glorious Eighth Symphony. Forget the New World, this is Dvorák celebrating the old world with lilting tunes and utterly irresistible charm. Andris Nelsons sets the mood with another Slavic fairytale; Liadov’s ravishing Enchanted Lake, before joining pianist Nikolai Lugansky to scale the Everest of romantic piano concertos – Rachmaninov’s epic Third Concerto, premiered 100 years ago tonight and still as thrilling as ever!


(Long service awards given tonight to:

Twenty years….Eduardo Vassallo, cello; Heather Bradshaw, violin; Peter Hill, Timpani; Christopher Yates, Viola.

Thirty years….Pete Dyson, Horn.)

 Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

“When it comes to painting pictures in music Andris Nelsons is in his element. Liadov’s tone poem The Enchanted Lake, the magical, ravishingly played opener to Saturday’s concert, was so delicately defined you could almost see diaphanous forms emerging from the orchestral mists.” …

Nelsons Conducts Bruckner’s Third

Wednesday 25 November 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Kari Kriikku  clarinet

Wagner: Parsifal – Prelude 14′
Lindberg: Clarinet Concerto 28′
Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 54′

Bruckner dedicated his Third Symphony to Richard Wagner – and there’s more than a hint of the Ride of the Valkyries about this stirring, powerfully romantic symphony. Vast musical landscapes, hymns of triumph and moments of heart-breaking poetry – if you heard Andris Nelsons conducting Wagner and Strauss last season, you won’t want to miss his Bruckner. But the evening begins with the serene beauty of Wagner’s Parsifal prelude – while Magnus Lindberg’s sparky Clarinet Concerto (played by the artist who inspired it) is like a dazzling firework display amidst all this teutonic grandeur.

Review by Christoper Morley, Birmingham Post:

“Everyone take note: Andris Nelsons is destined to become one of the greatest Wagnerian conductors of the 21st – or indeed any – century” …

Review by Rian Evans, Guardian:

“…Yet it is hard to imagine Kriikku giving a more gripping performance than this one with Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony Hall acoustic allowed the whole fabric of the piece to emerge with unflagging clarity and vibrancy.” …

Review by Geoff Brown, The Times:

…”Never before have I heard such warm, veiled, ethereal beauties from these players, or indeed from Symphony Hall. In his second season as the CBSO’s chief, Nelsons continues to be a complete magician, conjuring passionate yet elegant performances through solid musicianship, delicate hand gestures, flexible knees, and a star’s charisma.”…

CBSO’s Amazing Auction – for charity

Street Maestros:

Bidding opens for a chance to conduct, or play strings, with CBSO

🙂 The auction page: 🙂

Haydn 200: II

Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 7.30pm

Town Hall, Birmingham 0121 780 3333

Jean-Christophe Spinosi – conductor
Rinat Shaham – mezzo-soprano

Mozart Overture to Cosi fan tutte, K. 588
Mozart Recit & Smanie Implacabile (Cosi Fan Tutti)
Mozart Voi Che Sapete (Marriage of Figaro)
Haydn Symphony No. 83 “La Poule”
Rossini Overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia
Rossini Cruda sorte (L’Italiana in Algeri)
Rossini Una Voce Poco fa (Barber of Seville) 26′
Haydn Symphony No. 82 “The Bear”

One of the stars of the period instrument music scene and now a leading opera conductor, Corsican-born Jean-Christophe Spinosi makes his CBSO debut with a sparkling programme featuring this year’s anniversary composer Haydn. Two of the latter’s splendid Paris symphonies are separated by arias by Rossini, sung by one of today’s leading mezzos, acclaimed for her ‘Carmen’ at Glyndebourne.

Review by Geoff Read, Seen and Heard, UK:

“…Shaham’s allure was equally to the fore in Rosina’s Una voce poco fa from Il Barbiere – a natural for the part of Rossini’s sex kitten. She was a veritable minx, but one with also a sting in her tale as her vigorous tantrum demonstrated. The orchestral closure after her thrilling climactic top was overtaken by the applause. We loved her but an encore in the middle of a concert? Not an option.  … “

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Murray Perahia Plays Bach and Mozart

Fri 13 Nov 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Murray Perahia piano/director

J C Bach Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, T288/7
Mozart Piano Concerto No 17 in G, K453
J S Bach Concerto No 3 in D, BWV1054
Mozart Symphony No 38, Prague

Maturity, elegance and simplicity are hallmarks of Murray Perahia’s performances. In the great classical works he is ardent, persuasive, but never dull. With this concert Perahia extends his range, directing Mozart and Bach from the keyboard and taking up the baton for the Prague Symphony – a work of grandeur, majesty and celebratory exuberance.

Encore: Final movement Haydn Symphony?

Review by Rian Evans, Guardian: 

“The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is celebrating its half-century by touring Europe with Murray Perahia as pianist/director. ….The Academy players were alert to Perahia’s every nuance, with flautist Adam Walker and oboist Christopher Cowie outstanding.” 5/5

The Planets

Tuesday 10 November 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

 John Wilson  conductor
Leon McCawley  piano
CBSO Youth Chorus  

Elgar: Cockaigne 15′
Grieg: Piano Concerto 30′
Holst: The Planets 48′ Listen
requires Real Player

Midland composers have always aimed high. Worcestershire lad Edward Elgar dreamed of making it big in the capital, and it shows: his Cockaigne overture positively glitters with the pageantry and bustle of Edwardian London. Gustav Holst, meanwhile, headed for the stars! His Planets suite isn’t just famous for great tunes like Jupiter and Mars; it’s a tremendous musical odyssey towards the infinite, written for a super-size orchestra and filled with sounds of jaw-dropping strangeness and beauty. Amidst all this grandeur, Grieg’s ever-popular Piano Concerto offers gentler charms – but with Leon McCawley at the keyboard, it will be every bit as spectacular.

Jansen Plays Sibelius

Thursday 5 November 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

Ilan Volkov  conductor
Janine Jansen  violin

Chin: Rocaná (UK premiere) 21′
Sibelius: Violin Concerto 31′
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 39′

One concert: three extraordinary musical worlds. Korean composer Unsuk Chin has attracted a worldwide following for her magical, brilliantly imaginative music – and this is your first chance in Britain to hear Rocaná, an astonishing “sound sculpture” inspired by impressionist art and the composer’s own dreams. Then we’re off to the brooding northern landscape of Sibelius’ popular Violin Concerto (with the stunning Janine Jansen as soloist), and finally to the sunlit Alpine meadows of Brahms’ happiest symphony. Lullabies, horn calls and jubilant trumpets all come together in some of the loveliest music he ever wrote.

Review from Rian Evans, Guardian:

“Conductor Ilan Volkov was at the helm when Unsuk Chin’s cello concerto was acclaimed at last year’s Proms, and his affinity for her detailed style was evident as he directed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the UK premiere of Chin’s 2008 work for orchestra, Rocaná.” …

In Love… With Renée Fleming

Monday 2nd November 7:30pm

at Symphony Hall

Renée Fleming soprano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Charles Dutoit conductor

Prokofiev Suite, Romeo and Juliet
Tchaikovsky Tatyana’s Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin
Tchaikovsky Fantasy Overture, Romeo and Juliet
Leoncavallo Svaria sulla bocca viva from La Boheme
Leoncavallo Pinson la biondetta from La Boheme
Giordano Nella suo amore from Siberia
Puccini Sola perduta, abandonata from Manon Lescaut

There are few more famous divas than soprano Renée Fleming, whose fame has soared into realms normally reserved for pop music superstars. The effortless ease of her distinctive tone brings a breathtaking sheen to every note she sings. She returns to Symphony Hall after a break of six years in a programme on the theme of love.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert: “Renée Fleming is undoubtedly a soprano in a league of her own. The double Grammy winner is an outstanding solo performer. Don’t miss this chance to catch this world-class singer live.”

Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

“Real passion and commitment came later. The section leading up to the Death of Tybalt displayed palpably thrilling sonorities, while in Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet fantasy-overture (just imagine what a Tchaikovsky ballet, or even opera on this subject might have been like) Dutoit avoided any suggestion of warhorse posturing, building climaxes in a purposefully expressive way and keeping the love theme under control right up to its final, poignant appearance in the coda.”

Review by Geoff Read, Seen and Heard UK

…”The final scheduled aria was Sola, perduta, abbandonata, from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut: Fleming had saved the best for last, demonstrating why she has reached her star status. At last, we had an aria that displayed drama and passion with orchestra and soloist on the same wavelength.”…

Friday Night Classics : John Williams’ Heroes

Friday 30 October 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

 John Wilson  conductor

Williams: Star Wars Theme 5′
Korngold: Theme from the film, “The Sea Hawk” 6′
Williams: Symphonic Suite from Star Wars 5′
Waxman: The Philadelphia Story Suite: Main Title; Tracey in Love; End Title 6′
Williams: Jaws: Shark Theme 3′
Herrmann: Taxi Driver: Main Title 3′
Williams: Adventures on Earth: E. T. 10′
Newman: Airport: Main Title 5′
Williams: Escapades Suite: from Catch me if You Can 13′
Rozsa: Ben Hur – Parade of the Charioteers 3′
Williams: Schindler’s List Theme 5′
Williams: Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind 8′
Williams: Harry’s Wondrous World 4′

From blockbuster to blockbuster, tonight’s concert is a celebration of great film themes with live symphony orchestra, as you’ve never heard them before. Travel across the stars with an unbeatable line-up featuring the music of John Williams and the amazing film-score writers that influenced him.