St Petersburg Philharmonic

St Petersburg Philharmonic

Plays Russian Masterworks

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Tuesday 27 March, 7:30pm

Symphony Hall

St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Yuri Temirkanov conductor
Simon Trpčeski piano

Prokofiev : Classical Symphony 15’
Rachmaninov : Piano Concerto No 2 33’
Shostakovich : Symphony No 5 44’

St Petersburg Philharmonic encore – Elgar – Salut d’Amour

 

There’s nothing like seeing a legendary Russian orchestra unleashing the full power and passion of the great Russian masterworks. The St Petersburg Philharmonic enjoyed close associations with both Prokofiev and Shostakovich, whose works they perform tonight, alongside Rachmaninov’s richly romantic Second Piano Concerto with virtuoso Simon Trpčeski.

 

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, recommends tonight’s concert: “A few years ago I got to hear the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra perform under its conductor, Yuri Temirkanov, in its home city – I’ve never forgotten what a wonderful experience it was… this all-Russian programme looks to be a knockout.” www.thsh.co.uk

 

 

Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

“There’s nothing better than hearing Russian music played by a top Russian orchestra, and the St Petersburg Philharmonic is probably the best there is.

Tuesday’s programme was nothing new – Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, the Second Piano Concerto of Rachmaninov and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 – but in the hands of Yuri Temirkanov and his remarkable players these familiar works came over totally refreshed. The Prokofiev in particular, which some conductors view as updated Haydn – all crisp definition and mock-Classical deference – was here invested with a brittleness and tongue-in-cheek mischief that sometimes verged on the boisterous and almost like a wakeup call.

Simon Trpceski certainly made one wake up and listen in the concerto – both to his glittering passagework with every note focused in high definition relief, and his finely sculpted cantabile, which alternated between glowing richness and rippling delicacy.”     …            ***** 

Review by Diane Parkes, BehindtheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “For many in the audience the highlight of the evening was without a doubt Simon Trpceski’s performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2.

One of Rachmaninov’s best-known works, it was handled with confidence and zest by Trpceski and received some of the longest applause I have seen at Symphony Hall.”     …     ****

A London Symphony with the Hallé

Wednesday 14 March 2012 at 7.30pm

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

The Hallé
Sir Mark Elder conductor
Andrew Gourlay conductor*
Imogen Cooper piano

Strauss: Wind Serenade* 10′
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 18, K.456 29′
Vaughan Williams: A London Symphony 43′

Vaughan Williams didn’t just get his inspiration from skylarks and folksongs. He took traffic sounds, street-cries and the Westminster chimes, and turned them into A London Symphony – complete with cabbies, nightclubs and fog. It’s a gloriously colourful showcase for Sir Mark Elder and The Hallé – one of the great musical partnerships of recent years – and with Imogen Cooper bringing her unique poetry to Mozart’s lovely B-flat Piano Concerto, we’re looking forward to an evening of really magical music-making.

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

Click here for full review

…      ” There was no hiding that dimension of anguish in Elder’s superbly comprehensive account, whether in the paroxysms of the first movement – the Hallé brass wonderfully secure – or in the last slow fade of the finale. Even the moments of ebullience in the scherzo seemed to take on a sardonic edge.”     …

Review by John Gough, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “This was a wonderfully responsive evocation of the capital, full of vitality. (I have never heard better playing of the quicksilver scherzo). Full, too, of poetic feeling and a tragic awareness of a world on the brink of catastrophe. Everything was here from ultra quiet string textures and distinguished solos, rising in the finale to brass playing ecstatic in its power and nobility.”       ***** 

CBSO on tour

Sunday 11 March 2012 at 6.00pm

PARIS, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Stephen Gould Tristan
Lioba Braun Isolde
Christianne Stotijn Brangäne
Brett Polegato Kurwenal
Matthew Best King Marke
Ben Johnson Melot / Shepherd
Benedict Nelson Sailor / Helmsman
Accentus

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde 226′

@TheCBSO : All on stage and ready to go in a packed Théâtre des Champs-Élysées – #Tristan No.2 here we come!

http://pic.twitter.com/5GpZk8B2

 
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@TheCBSO : And they loved it! Merci, Paris! http://pic.twitter.com/ON2zpK5F

 
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@TheCBSO : On our way back to the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées for today’s rehearsal with Jonas Kaufmann.

 http://pic.twitter.com/I5atkVG4

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Monday 12 March 2012 at 8.00pm

PARIS, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Jonas Kaufmann tenor

Mahler: Kindertotenlieder 23′
Strauss: Ruhe, meine Seele! 4′
Strauss: Cäcilie 2′
Strauss: Heimliche Aufforderung 3′
Strauss: Morgen 3′
Strauss: Ich trage meine Minne 3′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

@TheCBSO : Cheers and flowers for Andris & Jonas. Paris approves of our Strauss….

http://pic.twitter.com/UY72gcBd

 
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Tuesday 13th March 2012

 
@TheCBSO says: So farewell to Paris – this morning it’s on to Luxembourg by train and coach for our debut in the shiny new Philharmonie.
First concert also with Rudolf Buchbinder, joining us for Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto.
 
@PhilharmonieLux says: Happy to have you with us tonight! The sun should be there to welcome you 😉
 

@TheCBSO : Rehearsing in the beautiful Philharmonie in Luxembourg – Beethoven 4 with Buchbinder on the menu any minute now….

 http://pic.twitter.com/vrfyqCP7

 
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THE CBSO IN LUXEMBOURG

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Tuesday 13th March 2012 at 8.00pm

LUXEMBOURG, Philharmonie

Andris Nelsons conductor
Rudolf Buchbinder piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

 
@TheCBSO : Luxembourg Philharmonie by night…. A warm welcome from a packed house – great first visit. Tomorrow it’s on to Essen.
 
 
pic.twitter.com/mpBqrGAO
 
 
Click here for review (in German)
Click here for Google’s interesting translation 😉
 
 
 

Wednesday 14th March 2012

@TheCBSO : So today we’ve finally reached Germany for our 8 concerts here. First up: the Philharmonie in Essen where we made our debut in Jan last year

at 8.00pm

ESSEN, Philharmonie

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor

Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde 17′ Listen on Spotify
Strauss: Tod und Verklärung 24′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

 

@TheCBSO : Another gorgeous new(ish) hall – inside the Philharmonie in Essen. Wagner, Strauss & Sibelius on the menu tonight.

 http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/180018680405561344/photo/1

 
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Thursday 15th March 2012

@TheCBSO : Five and a half hours on the train, Essen to Munich. Deutsche Bahn super-reliable so far (as always).

THE CBSO IN MUNICH

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Thursday 15th March 2012 at 8.00pm

MUNICH, Philharmonie am Gasteig +49 (0)180 54818181

Andris Nelsons conductor
Jonas Kaufmann tenor

Debussy: La mer 23′
Mahler: Kindertotenlieder 23′
Strauss: Ruhe, meine Seele! 4′
Strauss: Cäcilie 2′
Strauss: Heimliche Aufforderung 3′
Strauss: Morgen 3′
Strauss: Ich trage meine Minne 3′
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé 16′

@TheCBSO : Flying saucers ahoy! Awaiting the orchestra’s arrival on stage at the Gasteig in Munich.

 http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/180367954351886337/photo/1

 
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@TheCBSO : More wonderful Kaufmann singing. Tonight’s Kindertotenlieder were dedicated by the performers to the families of yesterday’s Swiss tragedy.
 

 

 

Friday 16th March 2012

 
@TheCBSO : After five consecutive concert days, today the orchestra is enjoying a much-needed day off in Munich. Great weather and a beautiful city. 
 
 
 

 

Saturday 17 March 2012

The CBSO in Vienna

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at 7.30pm

VIENNA, Musikverein

Andris Nelsons conductor
Rudolf Buchbinder piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

@TheCBSO : There’s a concert here tonight…

 http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/181041167176179712/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : Rehearsal time for @TheCBSO in the Musikverein. Britten, Beethoven & Sibelius tonight.

http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/181061232382582784/photo/1

 
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@TheCBSO : All on stage (just) in the hallowed Goldener Saal. First time here since the 1990s. Warming up with a little Britten.

http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/181046128307994625/photo/1

 
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@TheCBSO : Moving the piano onstage, Viennese style. Yes the legs did get attached afterwards….

http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/181090978164260864/photo/1

 
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Sunday 18 March 2012 at 7.30pm

VIENNA, Musikverein

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Jonas Kaufmann tenor

Debussy: La mer 23′
Mahler: Kindertotenlieder 23′
Strauss: Ruhe, meine Seele! 4′
Strauss: Cäcilie 2′
Strauss: Heimliche Aufforderung 3′
Strauss: Morgen 3′
Strauss: Ich trage meine Minne 3′
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé 16′

@TheCBSO : And yes, the concert is sold out…

 http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/181419510241308672/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : This could well be the one & only time I get to do this! Opening of Daphnis & Chloe, with @TheCBSO – photo, Dave Vines

 http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/181420620964298753/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : Aidy Spillett showing me what will happen in the show later to the 18 people who have paid to sit there in the concert!

http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/181433212579491840/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : The view from the aforementioned audience seats……

http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/181433398336819200/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : Here is @noswadneb in his position tonight!!

http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/181433583964127232/photo/1

 
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@TheCBSO : Another triumph for the amazing Jonas K. And joined in ‘Morgen’ by a ravishing violin solo from Laurence Jackson.

http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/181476199304933376/photo/1

 
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Blog post on Vienna concerts by Andrew, DevilsTrill
Click here for full post
 
…     “It got even better after the interval. Andris Nelsons’s way with Sibelius’s Second Symphony was riveting. The first movement became a fizzing prelude to the joyous finale, but the tone poem-like second movement plumbed the depths with craggy fanfares and tense silences. It really was gripping and somehow the small hall only made it more intense. The orchestra sounded better than I have ever heard them (and they’re usually no slouches); on a level here with any orchestra in the world.”     …
 

 

 

Monday 19 March 2012 at 8.00pm

The CBSO in Stuttgart

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Liederhalle, Stuttgart, Germany http://www.sksruss.de

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Rudolf Buchbinder piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

 

Tuesday 20 March 2012 at 8.00pm

The CBSO in Frankfurt

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FRANKFURT, Alte Oper; Grosser Saal

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Rudolf Buchbinder piano

Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde 17′ Listen on Spotify
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

 
 

@Batonflipper :  Mr Sibley going through his daily warm up routine.

 http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/182170952254230528/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : Tonight’s venue for @TheCBSO concert – the Alte Oper in Frankfurt

 http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/182171232010113024/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : And the view from the eyrie where Peter Hill, the @TheCBSO timpanist, lives….

 http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/182171517021454336/photo/1

 
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Wednesday 21 March 2012 at 8.00pm

The CBSO in Hamburg

 

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HAMBURG, Laeiszhalle

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Anna Vinnitskaya piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Anna Vinnitskaya piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

 
 
 

Thursday 22nd March 2012

 
@Batonflipper : Free day in Hamburg, sadly with the worst hotel of the tour! Still, the sun is shining & lunch beckons after a bit of watch window shopping
 

@Batonflipper : The @TheCBSO tuba player, Graham Sibley, happy to be spending his free day eating lunch on a barge with ……

http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/182806882417782784/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : …..@TheCBSO members, Ed Jones (Trombone 1), Byron Parish (Floating Violinist!) & Dave Vines (Bass Trombone).

http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/182807453765873666/photo/1

 
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Friday 23rd March 2012 at 8.00pm

The CBSO in Dortmund

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Dortmund, Konzerthaus 0231 22 696 200

 

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Rudolf Buchbinder piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

 
 

@Konzerthaus_DO : Gerade vor dem Künstlereingang: Der @TheCBSO Truck ist schon da…

http://twitter.com/Konzerthaus_DO/status/183180746020753408/photo/1

 
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@Konzerthaus_DO : Well deserved standing ovations for @batonflipper, who stepped in for Andris #Nelsons with @TheCBSO tonight! Congrats!
 
 
 
 

 

Saturday 24 March 2012 at 8.00pm

The CBSO in Heidelberg

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Michael Seal

HEIDELBERG, Kongresshaus Stadthalle

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal conductor
Rudolf Buchbinder piano

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes 16′
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 34′
Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde 17′ Listen on Spotify
Debussy: La mer 23′

 

@TheCBSO : Andris Nelsons has sadly had to withdraw from the final concerts of our tour to return to Riga where his baby daughter has been taken ill.

We are extremely grateful to Mike Seal, our Associate Conductor, for standing in to conduct at short notice last night in Dortmund.

Mike will also conduct the final two concerts of our tour in Heidelberg and Baden-Baden. The programme and soloists remain unchanged.

Our thoughts are with Andris & his family, and our thanks go out to Mike and the orchestra for pulling together in difficult circumstances.

 

@Batonflipper : Today we’ve travelled to Heidelburg on the coach, giving me time to acquaint myself with La Mer. Lovely hall…..

 http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/183586476481724416/photo/1

 
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…..and the view of the stage. What with an old hall, big orchestra & hot sunny day, I think it could be a hot one!!!

 http://twitter.com/batonflipper/status/183588400870334465/photo/1

 
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@TheCBSO : On stage (just) in beautiful Heidelberg Stadthalle. Maestro Seal aka @batonflipper about to give his first downbeat.

 http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/183629897179213824/photo/1

 
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@TheCBSO : A deserved ovation for a wonderful performance. Bravo to Mike @batonflipper !

 http://pic.twitter.com/7yf2I8Fn

 
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Sunday 25 March 2012 at 6.00pm

The CBSO in Baden-Baden

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BADEN-BADEN, Festspielhaus

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal conductor
Jonas Kaufmann tenor

Mahler: Kindertotenlieder 23′
Strauss: Ruhe, meine Seele! 4′
Strauss: Cäcilie 2′
Strauss: Heimliche Aufforderung 3′
Strauss: Morgen 3′
Strauss: Ich trage meine Minne 3′
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 44′

@Batonflipper : “Another lovely audience in Heidelberg last night who seemed to enjoy our concert. @TheCBSO played brilliantly, as ever, helping me through!

Thanks also must go to Rudolf Buchbinder. What a classy player, fabulous musician & consummate pro. The dictionary definition of cool!!

So, just one concert to go. In Baden Baden, with @TheCBSO, with Jonas Kaufmann! Should be very exciting…..

In no way meant to be a “name drop” but, what a nice man Jonas Kaufmann is! Not long before we play Mahler & Strauss together…..”

 @TheCBSO : And so to our final concert – Baden Baden Festspielhaus with the great Jonas Kaufmann.
 

@TheCBSO : 13 concerts down, 0 to go. Time to go home. Auf wiedersehen, Baden Baden.

http://twitter.com/TheCBSO/status/183981024932409346/photo/1

 
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@Batonflipper : WOW! What a concert. @TheCBSO finished the tour with a stonking Sibelius 2 after Jonas Kaufmann sang like an angel in the first half. #proud
@Batonflipper : I can’t begin to thank my colleagues enough in @TheCBSO for their playing & support over the last 3 days. What a bunch of superstars! #proud
 
For Michael Seal’s blog post re thoughts on conducting on CBSO tour, click here “A tour I will never forget”  
Click here for some translations of reviews for Michael Seal’s conducting on tour  

Choir of St Thomas Church, Leipzig & Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra: St Matthew Passion

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Friday 9 March 2012

Symphony Hall

J S Bach
St Matthew Passion 164’

This concert has a running time of c. 3 hours, 10 minutes including one interval.

Choir of St Thomas Church, Leipzig
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Georg Christoph Biller Thomaskantor
Christoph Genz tenor
Martin Petzold tenor
Gotthold Schwarz bass
Matthias Weichert bass
Thomaner Stefan Kahle alto
Ute Selbig soprano

Bach wrote the St Matthew Passion when he was Cantor of the Thomanerchor, so the ultimate account of this masterpiece will be assured in Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary Festival. Only fourteen cantors later, one of the world’s most revered choirs reaches its own remarkable 800th anniversary.

Sung in German with English surtitles. (surtitles broken!)
Please note surtitles may not be visible from every seat. Please check when booking.

 

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…         “There was wonderful projection and clarity of both diction and texture from the Thomanenchor, their voices remarkably mature for such young people.

Of the excellent soloists, particularly outstanding were the dramatic Evangelist of Martin Petzold, reacting to events as though representing the Common Man, Stefan Kahle’s remarkable alto, and the expressive soprano of Ute Selbig”     …

 

 

Review by Alfred Hickling, Guardian (for same programme but at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester)

Click here for full review

…        “Accompanied by the magnificent Gewandhaus Orchestra, the textures conjured by the current kantor, Georg Christoph Biller, had the freshness and transparency of spring water. The boys proved capable of making a tumultuous noise in the choruses; yet it was in the chorales, the heart and soul of Bach’s Lutheran church music, that the harmonic lines interwove with a transcendence that can only be achieved through living, eating and working together.”       

 

 

Andris Nelsons and Jonas Kaufmann

Wednesday 7 March 2012 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Jonas Kaufmann tenor

Britten: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia (Peter Grimes) 23′ Listen on Spotify
Mahler: Kindertotenlieder 23′
Strauss: Songs (Heimliche Aufforderung, Ruhe, meine Seele, Ich trage meine Minne, Morgen, Caecilie) 17′
Debussy: La mer 23′

Jonas Kaufmann’s encore – Strauss: Zueignung

Once in a generation comes a tenor who goes beyond a glorious voice and superstar charisma, and takes everything he performs to another level. When Jonas Kaufmann sang with Andris Nelsons at the 2010 Bayreuth Festival, one critic described his performance as“sublime”. So we’re thrilled to welcome Kaufmann to Birmingham, to perform the music that he sings better than anyone alive: the songs of Mahler and Strauss. It’s sure to be one of the high points of the season.

Find out what our musicians love about this music – watch music director Andris Nelsons and CBSO violinist David Gregory discussing Debussy’s La mer. www.cbso.co.uk

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 Igor Toronyi-Lalic, Arts Desk:

Click here for full review

“There was a lovely narrative to tonight’s CBSO concert. The muggy oppressiveness of Britten’s Four Sea Pictures (and Passacaglia) appeared somehow explained by Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, then dissolved by the love letters that were the Strauss songs and then finally set free – psychologically and orchestrally – in Debussy’s La Mer. Parallel to this, the great German tenor Jonas Kaufmann was being washed out to sea; his Mahler and Strauss songs were being lapped at from both directions by Debussy and Britten’s portraits of the salty waters. ”     …

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

Click here for full review

…     “Framed by orchestral seascapes – Nelsons began with the Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Britten’s Peter Grimes and ended with a slightly overmoulded account of Debussy’s La Mer – Kaufmann sang Richard Strauss and Mahler. If the group of Strauss’s orchestral songs was straightforward enough – the four from his Op 27, together with Ich Trage meine Minne from Op 32, sung with almost casual ease, unfailingly lustrous tone and effortless beauty of line – the Mahler was much less predictable.”     …

Blog review by Intermezzo:

Click here for full review

…       “As Andris Nelsons plumped the CBSO into a plush cushion of sound behind him, the hall came alive. Kaufmann is a singer at the very top of his game right now, matching outstanding technical gifts with unbound passion for the music. How could anyone sing these songs better? The audience, predictably, erupted at the end – though some couldn’t wait that long and burst into spontaneous applause after a breathtaking Morgen. ”     …

Review by Rian Evans, ClassicalSource:

Click here for full review

…     “While in Morgen! the vision of the sea-shore is couched in terms of idyllic bliss, the works which framed the Mahler and Strauss offered portrayals of the deep full of metaphor and altogether more challenging. This was not the first time that Nelsons has programmed Britten’s Sea Interludes with Debussy’s La mer. The ‘Passacaglia’ was inserted between ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Storm’, which worked remarkably well and not simply because of creating a five-movement sequence to balance the five Rückert settings in the Mahler. The dark and quietly threatening opening to the ‘Passacaglia’, presaging the fatal cliff-fall of the boy John, Grimes’s apprentice, connected it to Kindertotenlieder. Similarly, the clarity with which Nelsons handled the instrumentation – flutes, celesta and the return of Christopher Yates’s haunting viola – at the end set up parallels which would then emerge tellingly in the Mahler. In La mer, the way Nelsons painted the ever-changing seascape had infinite sensitivity as well as stirring drama. The CBSO musicians responded with passionate dedication.”

Blog review by Andrew, Devil’sTrill:

Click here for full post

…     “Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes (plus the Passacaglia, cleverly inserted before the final interlude) were perhaps a little tentative at times, but Debussy’s La Mer at the other end of the concert was the real standout. Conductor Andris Nelsons imparts a flexibility on the music only attainable by a conductor with the total attention of their orchestra: Nelsons certainly has that. ”     …

Review by Fiona Maddocks, The Observer:

Click here for full review

…     “This particular song, “Ruhe, meine Seele!” (Rest my soul!), opens on a discord and swells into a tempestuous dark night of the soul before finding uneasy calm. The German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who attracted a capacity audience from far and wide for his Birmingham debut with the CBSO and conductor Andris Nelsons, poured his energies into this tiny psychodrama and delivered liquid gold – the only way, if hyperbolic, to describe the glistening, superlatively controlled, dark-hued tone which has made him an international superstar.”     …

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb -SeenandHeard:

Click here for full review

…     “On this occasion the balanced programme gave equal prominence to both orchestra and soloist and it was the CBSO that opened proceedings with Britten’s Four Sea Interludes & Passacaglia from Peter Grimes. Nelsons conducting Britten was a new experience for me (it will be interesting to see what he makes of the impending performance of the War Requiem at Coventry as part of the Cathedral’s Golden Jubilee celebrations on May 30th). Britten was an outstanding creator of musical images and Nelsons and the CBSO painted many vivid pictures of a bleak East Anglian coast in my mind. In addition to an impression of the first light of day rippling over the North Sea waves, my overriding sensation of Dawn was of the Borough community – fishermen, cold and wet, at the start of yet another day’s hard graft. Sunday Morning contrasted those who were dutifully off to save their souls and others for whom there could be no day of rest. The shafts of light darting through the clouds were graphically portrayed in Moonlight, a heaviness and building of tension that reflected the mood of protagonist Grimes. The Passacaglia further concentrated my focus on this troubled character as the solo viola of Christopher Yates gave sensitive voice to the apprentice. The violent and unexpected turns of Britten’s Storm were galvanised by Nelsons using the full forces of the CBSO; I recalled Grimes’ line What harbour shelters peace?”     …

 

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…        “Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, a rarity for tenors, drew disembodied, baritonal timbres from Kaufman [sic], only rarely flowering into tenorial fulsomeness at phrases of the deepest exaltation in these ‘Songs on the Death of Children’; the remarkable acoustic permits such withdrawn tones even when accompanied by a large orchestra (though scoring often has the sparsity of chamber music).

Under Andris Nelsons, with whom Kaufman made his Bayreuth debut in Lohengrin in 2010, the CBSO played with a brittle refinement, burgeoning into consolation where necessary.”       … ***** 

Tristan and Isolde

Saturday 3 March 2012 at 4.00pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Stephen Gould  Tristan
Lioba Braun  Isolde
Christianne Stotijn  Brangäne
Brett Polegato  Kurwenal
Matthew Best  King Marke
Ben Johnson  Melot / Shepherd
Benedict Nelson  Sailor / Helmsman
Men of the CBSO Chorus  

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Sung in German with English surtitles) 230′ Listen on Spotify

A wounded knight, a tragic bride, and a love that’s stronger than death. When Richard Wagner premiered Tristan und Isolde in 1865, he changed music forever. You can hearTristan und Isolde as the greatest love story ever told; or you can hear it as an emotional experience so overwhelming that no music will ever sound the same again. But with lifelong Wagnerite Andris Nelsons conducting a superb hand-picked cast, just make sure you hear this extraordinary concert performance.

The approximate running times of Acts 1, 2, and 3 are 80’, 75’, and 75’ respectively. There will be a one-hour interval after Act 1 and a 20 minute interval after Act 2. Please note the change to the previously advertised interval durations, in response to the needs of the artists.

Find out what our musicians love about this music – watch music director Andris Nelsons and CBSO cello section leader Ulrich Heinen discussing Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde.

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

This concert is within the CBSO season and also forms part of Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary Festival. It may be booked as part of a CBSO or Birmingham International Season concert package.

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

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…     “One of the highlights of Nelsons’ Lohengrin had been Lioba Braun’s Ortrud, and she was the star of this performance too, not in the role of Brangaene, in which first made her name in the 1990s, but as Isolde. Feisty and fierce in the first act, meltingly tender in the second, she sang the final act’s Liebestod with mesmerising, rapt containment.”     …

Review by Ivan Hewett, Telegraph:

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…     “And yet these things took on a human glow, thanks to conductor Andris Nelsons’s wonderful pacing of the score. He seized on the drama’s essential conflict of fevered desire and yearning for oblivion, and made it vividly real in musical terms. Flexibility of tempo was the keynote, a quality evident in Nelsons’s masterly shaping of the Prelude. It issued out of nothingness in groping, hesitant notes, and constantly pushed and fell back in speed. Nelsons shrewdly drew back at the climax, opening the way to the drama to come.”     …

Blog review by Intermezzo

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…    ” It’s not exactly news that Andris Nelsons is an exceptional Wagner conductor. Everything comes down to his grasp of detail. Those broad sweeps and surges are built up from finely judged tempos and infinitely graded dynamics. Not a note passed unconsidered; the music was constantly alive. A halting, reticent overture hinted we might be in for a meditative interpretation, but once the story got going, a powerful theatrical pulse started beating. Symphony Hall’s warm acoustic magnified a sumptuous and often thrilling sound, with chorus and sometimes soloists placed above and behind the orchestra to make the most of the hall’s spatial qualities.”     …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “The orchestra relished the opportunity to reveal what a responsive, flexible, sonorous and delicate opera orchestra it is      […]

[…]     And the singers were uniformly magnificent: Lioba Braun such a warm-voiced Isolde, her Act One Narration well-paced, her Liebestod building to a cathartic climax, and with such vivid body-language; Stephen Gould’s well-supported tones much less barking than some other heldentenors, and so sweetly nuanced; Matthew Best’s King Marke sorrowingly authoritative; Christianne Stotjin a Brangaene of genuine personality, her watch-tower warnings shimmering with moonlit mystery: Brett Polegato conveying all of Kurwenal’s bluff decency.”     …

Review by Fiona Maddocks, The Observer:

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…     “a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, Nelsons’s first. Yet again this young Latvian proved himself among the most exciting and exploratory Wagnerians alive. Yes, that good. He takes immense risks, sometimes slowing the tempo to a near standstill then accelerating with a surge of alert, manic urgency. He taxes his players to the limits of breath or bow control, demanding extremes of volume or, far harder, near silence.

The CBSO, who could surely play the Prelude to Tristan in their sleep but never have the chance to play the entire score, responded with lustrous virtuosity, with special praise to the bass clarinet, cor anglais, trombones and harp. Many of the singers were new to their roles, including Lioba Braun (Ortrud in the CBSO and Nelsons’s 2010 Lohengrin), a mezzo who sounded pale in soprano high notes but who compensated with the intelligence of her reading.”     …    

 

Review by Rian Evans, ClassicalSource:

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…     “Lioba Braun by contrast was most musical, portraying an Isolde who was totally credible. Spirited and gutsy in the first Act, the body language conveying a great deal without any resort to histrionics, her voice carried warmth and humanity to embody Isolde’s healing gift. In Act Two, the effects of the love-potion were manifest in the sound: Braun produced the most meltingly beautiful tone in the middle of range – a reminder that it was the mezzo role of Brangäne that Braun sang very successfully in the 1990s – but she negotiated the upper range with impunity, only occasionally harsh at the top under duress.      […]

[…] Nelsons’s control was as dynamic as ever: the veiled colours with which he painted the tone, the clarity of details, the force with which the great climaxes were built, albeit of necessity unfulfilled, all demonstrated the a sure touch. Ralph van Daal’s cor anglais solos deserves special mention, always well-focused, and particularly beautifully when playing off-stage in Act Three. In the ‘Liebestod’ Braun realised all that is sublime and transcendent in the score, still sounding remarkably fresh and poised. Her ability to shape the phrasing ensured an expressive immediacy both engaging and moving. It set the seal on a memorable evening.”