CBSO / Andris Nelsons Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4 and Francesa da Rimini

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 & Francesca da Rimini

Out on 3rd October 2011

Available NOW from THSH Shop Birmingham Symphony Hall


“Andris Nelsons, the CBSO and Tchaikovsky have become synonymous, not least on disc, and the latest in their series of recordings will be eagerly awaited after this week’s performances set down for the Orfeo label.

The tone-poem Francesca da Rimini, sometimes seen as a poor relation to the more obvious story-line of Romeo and Juliet, was delivered with searing engagement under Nelsons. He unleashed a whirlwind circle of Dante’s hell, reassembling it at the end, but not before the Francesca’s wonderful narrative (Joanna Patton rising triumphantly to the solo clarinet’s challenges), crowned by fluttering flutes decorating the cellos’ final declaration of doomed, forbidden love. This was an urgent, gripping reading, and so was Nelsons’ account of Tchaikovsky’s tremendous Fourth Symphony, brilliantly responsive to its structure, ebbing and flowing in emotional intensity, and a tribute all the time to the immense trust and love between conductor and orchestra. So many instrumental delights (hopefully some, such as skirling woodwind scarcely heard at the heart of the first movement will undoubtedly be picked up the recording): apocalyptic brass, bassoon and oboe solos to get under the skin, and a massed string pizzicato sounding like one giant balalaika.”

Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post 4th June 2011

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Nelsons Conducts Brahms


Wednesday 28 September 2011 at 7.30pm

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

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Christian Tetzlaff violin

Strauss: Don Juan 18′
Dvořák: Violin Concerto 31′
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 39′

Hold onto your seats – because no piece of music explodes into life more thrillingly than Richard Strauss’s dazzling Don Juan. And no-one conducts it with more verve than Andris Nelsons. That’s just the start of a concert that finds the great Christian Tetzlaff playing Dvorák’s lovely song-and-dance of a Violin Concerto, and Nelsons and the CBSO luxuriating in the warm glow of Brahms’s sunniest and most lyrical symphony. Happy endings guaranteed!

This concert is being broadcast by BBC Radio 3

Christian Tetzlaff’s encore – Bach Partita No 3 in E Major – Gavotte en rondeau

Review by Michael Church, Independent:

…     “You couldn’t wish for a better exponent today than the German violinist Christian Tetzlaff, with his Protean ability to take on the character of whatever work he is playing. The character here was Slavonic, and from his opening flourish he found a genial sweetness of tone. Even when playing pianissimo and stratospherically high, he still dominated the orchestra, with Andris Nelsons calibrating the textures in sympathetic support. In the melody-rich Adagio, Tetzlaff’s job was to sing non-stop, and he did this as one imagines his Central European predecessors must have done a century ago.”     …

Review by Patsy Fuller, Coventry Telegraph:

“It’s a real a treat to hear Dvorak’s Violin Concerto in the concert hall. […]    

[…]     CBSO concerts are always exciting with Nelsons at the helm and this was up there with the very best.”

Rating * * * * *

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post (for matinee of same programme):

…    “but a poignant one, too, as it was bassoonist John Schroder’s last Birmingham concert after 45 years with the CBSO.

Appropriately, it ended with Brahms’ Symphony no.2, probably one of the first works John ever played with the orchestra in 1966.

Typically for John, in Thursday’s reading he was part of a well-knit woodwind ensemble, delivering Brahms’ pastoral colourings with character and suave empathy. Brass and strings brought a golden, well-cushioned glow to the familiar score, and Nelsons did wonders shaping counterpoints and counter-melodies, and building what can appear a sprawling finale to a convincing conclusion.”    [ …  ]    Rating * * * * *

Opening Concert: Verdi’s Requiem


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Thursday 22 September 2011 at 7.30pm

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

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Kristine Opolais soprano
Mihoko Fujimura mezzo-soprano
Pavel Cernoch tenor
Jan Martiník bass
CBSO Chorus

Verdi: Requiem 84′ Listen on Spotify

Drums thunder, trumpets blast, and a mighty chorus screams out in terror: Verdi’s Requiem isn’t exactly what you expect from religious music! But it’s exactly what you’d expect from the grand master of Italian opera – and Andris Nelsons adores it. Tonight, in these opening concerts, he’s brought together an all-star cast, a super-size CBSO, and our magnificent CBSO Chorus. So prepare to be astonished as he turns the emotional volume up to 11 and launches the new season in a blaze of passion.

Find out what our musicians love about this music – watch music director Andris Nelsons and section leader double bass John Tattersdill discussing Verdi’s Requiem.

To listen to some of the music in this concert, and explore the rest of the season, using our Spotify playlists, click here.

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

…     “The hall played its part, too, enabling Nelsons to move between whispering pianissimos and full, apocalyptic climaxes in the certain knowledge that both extremes would register and nothing would be muddied. The Requiem is ideally suited to his sense of theatricality. Whether in the carefully paced and managed outbursts of the Dies Irae, or the much more intimate textures of the later sections, Nelsons invariably judged it exactly. The CBSO Chorus hung on his every gesture – in the fugues of the Sanctus and the final Libera Me, detonated like explosions of joy, as much as in the whispered closing moments of the work, with the solo soprano Kristine Opolais etched above them.”     …

Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard -MusicWeb:

…     “I’m not sure how many pounds Nelsons lost during the evening; giving his all as ever it must have been considerable. What is it about the energy levels of conductors? This maestro was still pumped up after an uninterrupted ninety minutes! Leading by example, the infectious enthusiasm he has provided throughout his three completed seasons in Birmingham, he once again motivated those under his baton. He made the music of Verdi’s memorial to his political idol Alessandro Manzoni fit the words, ensuring that the required emphasis came across, whether from orchestra, choir or soloist. Testament to this was the opening Requiem Aeternam, the gentle supplications of orchestra and chorus on wavelengths from the same hymn sheet. ”     […]

The final Libera Me movement belonged to Opolais.      […]

[…] All her vocal and dramatic attributes shone forth in the Responsory: purity of tone, extensive and even range, lustrous colours and meaningful communication. One line summed her performance up – quando coeli movendi sunt et terra (when the heavens and the earth are moved); we were moved. At Tremens factus, the fragility in her voice portrayed that of a sinner trembling at the seat of judgement – this hair-tingling moment intensified by the sheer force of the final repeat of the Dies Irae. The wave of sound dissolved into Requiem Aeternam. The final bars were equally poignant as Opolais soared above it all – surely this was one soul who would be saved.”     …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…     “Nelsons’ CBSO delivered Verdi’s perfect score magically, led so magisterially unobtrusively by Laurence Jackson.”     […]   

[…]     “The solo quartet were magnificent, mezzo Mihoko Fujimura a real find, tenor Pavel Cernoch and bass Jan Martinik ardent and persuasive.

As for soprano Kristine Opolais: her singing brought a properly operatic drama to the performance (so much of this writing sounds like Aida, from impassioned muttering to soaring religious ecstasy. Husband Andris will have been well pleased.”

Rating * * * *