Nelsons conducts Strauss

Thursday 12 January 2012 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Stephen Hough  piano

Strauss: Tod und Verklärung 24′ 
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 1 26′ 
Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra 32′ Listen on Spotify 

 Stephen Hough’s Encore – Strauss: Traümerei

“I mean to convey in music an idea of the whole evolution of the human race.” Richard Strauss never did anything by halves, and when you hear the stupendous opening fanfare of Also sprach Zarathustra, it’ll blow you sideways. In this blockbuster concert, Andris Nelsons takes his love affair with Strauss to the next level, beginning with Strauss’s visionary Death and Transfiguration, and featuring a guest appearance from the man who might just be the most brilliant piano virtuoso on the planet: the incomparable Stephen Hough.

Find out what our musicians love about this music – watch music director Andris Nelsons and CBSO cello section leader Ulrich Heinen discussing Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra.

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 Fiona Maddocks, The Observer:

Click here for full review

“Double basses quiver and swirl on a note so murky it is hard to hear the pitch. A lone trumpet ascends in a three-note sunrise through an octave, followed by a cataclysm of thundering drumbeats. Add to that the evolution of the human race, man, superman, illness, death, transfiguration, a levitating Latvian maestro and a flying baton dropped somewhere amid the cellos and this was Symphony Hall, Birmingham last Thursday night, the CBSO’s first major concert of the year – broadcast live on Radio 3 and repeated last night. When that baton’s owner isAndris Nelsons, always excitedly athletic on the podium, players are no doubt used to ducking these identified flying objects.” …

Review by Rian Evans, ClassicalSource:

Click here for full review

…     “Expectation was rewarded with stunning opening to Tod und Verklärung: the death-bed scene was evoked with reverence yet tinged with a mysterious aura of the great unknown; woodwind phrases hovered gently in the air, the quality of the CBSO string-playing simply breathtaking. Nelsons then launched headlong into the Allegro molto agitato, where life pits itself against death, with blazing ferocity. The players responded with precision and the brass excelled in the transfiguration theme bringing an elegant legato upward sweep and transcendent glow. The placing and internal balance of Strauss’s evocative harmonies was also impeccably controlled by Nelsons, drawing the listener deep into the heart of the music.”    …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “But Nelsons was able to put all thoughts of new life behind him, summoning tautly-strung delicacy for the opening deathbed scene, drawing eloquent woodwind and violin solos, and in the febrile textures of the ensuing tortured struggle urging the strings to ride high over menacing brass.
The climax was heart-stopping – we feared literally so, given the energy Nelsons was burning here; but he then found quiet affirmation at last from the brass as he opened the Pearly Gates.”     …


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