Birmingham Mahler Cycle: Sakari Oramo conducts Symphony No. 10

Wednesday 23 February 2011 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Sakari Oramo  conductor

Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (completed by Deryck Cooke) 78′

When Gustav Mahler died in May 1911, he left his final symphony
tantalisingly unfinished. So Deryck Cooke’s completion of this mighty
score was one of the twentieth century’s great feats of artistic rescue.
On a musical par with raising the Titanic, it uncovered a lost
masterpiece of modern music – one that answers the question: after
the “farewell to life” of his Ninth, where could Mahler go next? The
Tenth is a spiritual odyssey, filled with puzzles and allusions; a work
where cries of love and cries of pain finally resolve in music of
shattering honesty and heartbreaking beauty. Former CBSO music
director Sakari Oramo makes an emotional return to guide us to the
heart of Mahler’s final musical testament. If you don’t know the Tenth,
you don’t know Mahler.

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

…  “The drama of this extraordinary work was laid out just as lucidly. The opening of the finale, with the serpentine emergence of the tuba abruptly cut short by the muffled strokes of the bass drum, was tinglingly dramatic, and if Oramo didn’t wring the maximum consolation out of the closing pages, he built towards them with unswerving certainty.”

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb:

…  “In the opening Adagio, the violas used by Mahler to set the pace and mood of the movement produced an instant feeling of empathy for his predicament; the CBSO viola players were desolate and aching, well led as usual by Christopher Yates. Oramo alternately built and relaxed the intensity with an expert’s guiding touch. Although expected, when the nine-note dissonant chord came it still created a violent impact, a veritable stab in the heart. The music swept along, a superb example of Mahler’s ability to combine angst with beauty, seemingly without any hope of reconciliation.”  … 
Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:
… “During his tenure he did so much to develop the orchestra’s reputation as explorers of repertoire, whether standard or unusual, and he consolidated the finesse of the strings to an extent which persists today.

It was good, then, to welcome Oramo back in a work which relies so much upon the strings in their exposure and eloquence. […]

[…]  David Matthews’ lengthy programme-note was fascinatingly informative, and under Oramo’s persuasive and impassioned direction the performance itself never failed to grip. ”  …

Rating * * * * *


Review by Alice Young, Redbrick Student Paper: 

…  “The acoustics in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall lend themselves perfectly to the extraordinary complexities and detail of Mahler’s work. Everything in this symphony from the quiet pizzicato on the strings to the glorious sustained trumpet notes can be received with the exact balance and texture Mahler intended.”  …

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