Russian Classics

Thursday 27 May 2010 at 7.30pm

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

Alexander Vedernikov  conductor
Steven Osborne  piano

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture 16′
Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2 20′
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6 45′

Music director of Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theatre since 2001, Alexander Vedernikov makes his CBSO debut with a trio of very different Russian masterpieces. Rimsky’s colourful overture celebrates the Russian Orthodox Easter in a riot of bells and orchestral brilliance, while Prokofiev’s superb post-war symphony strikes a more serious mood in music of great intensity and power. His sometime friend Shostakovich is also famous for his serious symphonies, but this tuneful piano concerto finds him in a lighter mood, and is played for us by the versatile Scottish pianist who has entertained CBSO audiences in music from Mozart to Messiaen.

Alexander Vedernikov’s encore – Beethoven- Bagatelle

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…”The same could be said in a way of Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, but here this rent-a-ballet score leads to a desolate, profound experience. Steely woodwind, full-throated strings, fearless horns stood out in a willing orchestra welded so skilfully and idiomatically by Vedernikov as he marshalled the music to its grim conclusion.

Rating: 5/5″

Review by Roger Jones, MusicWeb:

…”Prokofiev’s final symphony is a towering achievement which deserves to be heard more often in this country. Vedernikov managed to inspire the CBSO to play with vigour and commitment to produce a performance which was utterly overwhelming in its impact.”

Sir James Galway 70th Birthday Recital

Sir James Galway flute
Lady Jeanne Galway flute
Michael McHale piano

Hamilton Harty In Ireland
Debussy La fille aux cheveux de lin
Debussy En Bateau
P Taffanel Fantasie Sur Mignon
Bazzini La Ronde des Lutins
Briccialdi Carnival of Venice
Pietro Morlacchi Il Pastore Svizzero
K & F Doppler Rigoletto Fantasie for two flutes & piano
F Borne Carmen Fantasie

Plus Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Three Irish Folk Songs, Danny Boy, Flight of the Bumble Bee….

James Galway exudes a leprechaun-like energy and youthful sense of fun, with an unstoppable passion for communicating with audiences. His concert with his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, ranges from the simple Irish lyricism of Hamilton Harty through to the virtuosic fireworks of the Carmen Fantasie.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert: “The man with the golden flute remains one of the best-known names in classical music. His solo career spans thirty-five years and more than thirty million album sales worldwide.”

Sir James & Lady Jeanne Galway appear by arrangement with Galway Management

Review by  Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post:

“Irrepressible as always, the ever-youthful Sir James Galway pulled in a full crowd to help along his 70th birthday celebrations this year. Of all artistes he is one who immediately engages with his audience, presenting a wide-ranging programme with quick wit and Irish charm.” …..

Friday Night Classics: You Call the Tunes

Friday 21 May 2010 at 7.30pm

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

Michael Seal  conductor
Simon Bates  presenter
Michael Wade Lee   tenor
Mark Holland   baritone

Tonight the CBSO plays the peoples’ favourites in a concert packed with Midlanders’ most-loved classical and operatic music.

Voting for the concert programme closed on 31 March, programme includes:
Holst: The Planets – Mars and Jupiter
Grieg: Peer Gynt – Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King
Verdi: Rigoletto – La Donna è mobile
Bizet: Carmen – Les Toréadors
Pachelbel: Canon in D
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Rossini: The Barber of Seville – Largo al Factotum
Puccini: Turandot – Nessun Dorma
Bizet: The Pearlfishers – Au fond du temple saint
Ravel: Boléro

It’s a tantalising programme of opera house favourites, luminously indulgent works to relax to and revel in, and rousing pieces using the immense sound of the full Orchestra to mammoth effect.

* We’re very sorry to announce that Sue Perkins has become unable to appear in this concert due to filming commitments which could not be moved. We’re delighted that Simon Bates, popular Classic FM presenter, will now present this concert.

One Thousand and One Nights

Tuesday 18 May 2010 at 7.30pm

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

Jakub Hrusa  conductor
Johannes Moser  cello

Mozart: Symphony No. 38 (Prague) 25′
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations 18′
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade 47′ Listen
requires Real Player

Soaring violin solos, drama on the high seas and a total mastery of the orchestra: it’s no surprise that Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade has become one of the most played and best-loved of all Russian pieces. After his thrilling CBSO debut two seasons ago, dynamic Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa returns with this and another Russian masterpiece, Tchaikovsky’s charming Rococo Variations. Tchaikovsky was inspired by his lifelong love of Mozart, and the concert begins with one of the greatest of Mozart’s symphonies, written for a visit to Hrusa’s home city.

Johannes Moser’s Encore – Bach – Sarabande from Cello Suite No 1

Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

“Johannes Moser’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations had true star quality.

The young cellist’s engagingly flamboyant manner and instant rapport with the orchestra and audience caught the eye but what really impressed was the quality of his playing.    …

…This was an exhilarating performance with Laurence Jackson leading from the front – his violin made Scheherazade a silkily seductive storyteller capable of charming even the grouchiest Sultan.” ….   4/5

Symphonic Dances: III

Wednesday 12 May 2010 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Lars Vogt  piano

Maskats: Tango 12′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances 35′

Andris Nelsons kicks up a real song and dance. In American exile, Rachmaninov summed up his life’s work in one extraordinary masterpiece. His Symphonic Dances evoke a fantastic dream-world of half-remembered melodies, ghostly waltzes and driving jazz rhythms. But more to the point, they’re pure Rachmaninov – and that means high romance and glorious tunes. If you love his piano concertos, you’ll be spellbound. And if you love Beethoven’s piano concertos – well, you won’t need any persuasion to hear the most songful and poetic of the lot, played by the masterly Lars Vogt. Meanwhile, who’d have thought that the very first piece of music Nelsons brings us from his native Latvia would be the wonderfully evocative Tango, by his friend Arturs Maskats?

Post-concert talk, c.9.15pm
Stay late for a post-concert conversation with Andris Nelsons and Stephen Maddock.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

“The idea of a full-blown, sultry Argentian tango being written by a composer from the chilly Baltic might appear somewhat unlikely. But Tango by Latvian composer Arturs Maskats made a lively and impressive curtain-raiser to this CBSO concert, vividly scored, clearly structured, with a soul-baring backstreet melody interweaved by counter subjects like dancers’ ankles intertwining.” …

Masekela and the CBSO

(Songs & instrumental music from South Africa)

Friday 7 May 2010 at 7.30pm

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

Book Now

Michael Seal  conductor
Hugh Masekela  trumpet
Town Hall Gospel Choir  
CBSO Young Voices
– in partnership with Birmingham Music Service  

As the eyes of the world turn to South Africa this summer when it hosts the 2010 World Cup, we welcome Hugh Masekela, a living legend. Born in South Africa seventy years ago, he quickly emerged as one of his country’s leading musicians, his music reflecting the struggles, sorrows, joys and passions of his country. Masekela returns to Symphony Hall for a unique collaboration with the CBSO and the Town Hall Gospel Choir, for whom he has written a new work, as well as performing Jason Yarde’s new Trumpet Concerto.

This is promoted jointly by the CBSO / THSH (and also forms part of the Birmingham International Concert Season) therefore different discounts apply. Please check when booking by phone/in person.

Article by Peter Bacon, Birmingham Post:

Review by Peter Bacon, Birmingham Post:

… “Masekela sang, he played, he imitated the train whistles, he danced at the front of the stage, and around him his fellow South African singers, Black Voices, the Town Hall Gospel Choir, the CBSO Young Voices and the orchestra itself under Michael Seal somehow transformed all the mixed emotions of the piece so that what might have been a journey to hell became a ride to salvation and glory.

Masekela asked the audience to stand for Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica, but they would have doubtless been up out of their seats anyway. They certainly stayed up for the encore: Free Nelson Mandela.”

Tchaikovsky and Philip Glass

Wed 5 May 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Pavel Kogan conductor
Chloë Hanslip violin

Borodin Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor*
Philip Glass Violin Concerto 30’
Tchaikovsky Symphony No 5 50’

  • The Polovtsian Dances replaces the originally advertised Overture

The Moscow State Symphony Orchestra is one of Russia’s leading orchestras. At the very heart of its repertoire lies Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony – a journey from dark and brooding tragedy to an overwhelming sense of energy and fulfilment. Young British violinist Chloë Hanslip takes centre stage for the clean, pulsating lines of Philip Glass’s unforgettable Violin Concerto.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert: “Philip Glass is one of America’s best-known living composers. His Violin Concerto is a Classic FM favourite. The second movement in particular manages to be both haunting and moving at the same time.”

Chloe Hanslip’s Encore –

Moscow State Sympony Orchestra’s Encores – Dvorak- Slovonic Dances No 1, Glazunov- Spanish Dance from Raymonda

Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

…”It’s not a virtuosic work but Hanslip ensured that the second movement’s slow and sinuous theme was elegant, yet erotic, while the cadenza-like duet with timpani – Glass’s nod and wink to Beethoven’s concerto perhaps – was excellent.” …