Russian Masters

Saturday 6 February 2010 at 7.00pm

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

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Baiba Skride  violin

Liadov: Kikimora 7′
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 36′
Stravinsky: The Firebird 44′

Stravinsky’s The Firebird is one of the most popular of all ballet scores, conjuring a sumptuous fairy-tale world of glittering colours, enchanted melodies and blood-curdling thrills. It’s already become something of a signature-work for Andris Nelsons, so if you haven’t yet heard his interpretation, prepare to be astonished – and to be delightfully surprised by Liadov’s Kikimora, another Russian fairytale from the man who was originally supposed to write The Firebird. We welcome back the superb young Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, as soloist in Shostakovich’s powerful First Concerto.

Utterly brilliant evening, fantastic, mesmerising playing from Baiba Skride and The Firebird was done beautifully by the CBSO.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…”On Saturday it was the turn of another Russian concerto, dark and bitter, the Shostakovich no.1. Suppressed and sombre, then bursting into manic activity, it demands from Skride huge efforts of sustained concentration and superhuman physical energy, and she supplied both in abundance.

Her command of line was well sustained, and her virtuosity spectacular – but always at the service of this tremendous score. And her empathy with her old school-chum Nelsons and his wonderful band was effortless.”  …

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb:

…”Many however remain loyal to a particular work and Shostakovich’s 1st attracts considerable support. This rendition from Baiba Skride, Nelsons and the CBSO was ravishing in every sense. Dedicated to David Oistrakh, it impressed upon him at the time ‘absolute symphonic thinking’. In this performance on Feb 6th 2010, the four movements were indeed inextricably bound together. I used to think the opening Nocturne went on a bit, but such was the intensity of Skride’s soliloquy that the feeling of restless contemplation she created wasn’t a bar too long. ” ….

Review by Anna Picard, Independent:

…”Scintillation is relatively easy for an orchestra as confident and well-blended as the CBSO and a gifted, energetic young conductor. More impressive was the sense of chronic sickness and creeping despair in the veiled opening of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto and the expertly metred, gradual intensifying of tone. Soloist Baiba Skride and the orchestra moved as one from the grotesque brilliance of the Scherzo to the pallid sorrow of the Passacaglia. Both this and the Stravinsky feature on the CBSO’s tour to Germany next month, and it will be interesting to hear how Nelsons’ interpretation develops between now and 25 March, when The Firebird returns to Symphony Hall.”

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