Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Thursday 25 October

Symphony Hall

Symphony Hall logo

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Riccardo Chailly Gewandhauskapellmeister/music director
Lynn Harrell cello

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 2 33’
Rachmaninov Symphony No 2 58’

Lynn Harrell’s encore -Schubert Moment Musicaux

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, under its distinguished conductor Riccardo Chailly, is one of the world’s very greatest orchestras. They visit Birmingham riding high on the critical accolades from recent performances in London, Paris and Vienna. Acclaimed cellist Lynn Harrell is the soloist in Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto, and the centrepiece of the evening is Rachmaninov’s heart-felt Second Symphony, an outpouring of passionate emotion into an inexhaustible stream of gorgeous melody.

…Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra had us enthralled. Michael Church, The Independent

Chailly has taken a sleeping giant and galvanised it into one of the world’s most responsive and passionate major orchestras. The Times



Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

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…     “The finale steadily ratcheted up the tension, never weakening even in its lingering slow episode, where it is all too easy to get dewy-eyed.

Lynn Harrell was the solo cellist in the Shostakovich. He was at his thoughtful best in the introspective ruminations of the opening movement, and seemed content to leave it to Chailly and the orchestra to inject the real venom into the central scherzo and the finale, so that the concerto emerged as stranger and more teasingly enigmatic than ever, and more profound, too.”

Review by John Watson, Express and Star:

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…     “Harrell does more than evoke the emotions of a great work of music – he becomes possessed by it, evident in his performance of demanding Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2.

There was once a trend to heavily edit Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2, but it was presented in its full one-hour form. The adagio movement still cries out for editing, but the orchestra fizzed and sparkled through the up-tempo movements.”


Review by John Quinn, MusicWeb -SeenandHeard:

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…     “The Gewandhausorchester’s principal clarinettist, Peter Schurrock, came into his own in the third movement, playing the celebrated solo magnificently and with fine feeling. His colleagues took up the challenge willingly, treating us to some glorious, romantic playing. Chailly paced the music expertly, taking it expansively but ready to move things forward with purpose in the lead-up to the main climax. The finale was ebullient and festive and Chailly maintained the momentum, even in those passages where Rachmaninov can’t resist another passage of soaring lyrical music. There was urgency throughout this movement except, of course, during the brief reminiscence of the third movement. When Chailly and his players brought the symphony home exultantly the audience erupted into a richly deserved ovation.”     …


Review by Peter Marks, BachTrack:

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…     “A noted Mahlerian, Chailly excels in this sort of music: large-scale and Romantic. The phrasing was exquisitely done. The polish and warmth of the strings were evident in the yearning opening of the first movement. The placement of the violins left and right at the front of the stage, and the powerhouse bass section situated to the left of centre, meant that all contrapuntal details were vivid and present, with the muscular bass sound underpinning the whole orchestra.     […]

[…]     Chailly surged forward in the final apotheosis where some linger, and we were braced for a very fast close but, once again, he had a surprise in store with the last notes broadened in tempo, giving at once a darker and more final close. The audience loved it and Chailly was clearly moved by the level of warmth and appreciation for his fine orchestra here in Birmingham.”



Review by Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Chailly certainly stirred the marrow in Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, being rewarded by fine playing and secret smiles between colleagues for the lovely clarinet solo in the Adagio. Heart-stopping phrases led progressively to almost unbearable heights, with the full ensemble playing their hearts out, plus good balance always allowing space for individual contributions.

We were all caught in a golden cage of luscious sound, with every tune a BIG tune. Rachmaninov at his most heart-rending, earning great cheers and uproarious applause from an emotionally-drained audience.”

Sunlight and Shadows

Wednesday 24 October 2012 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0603

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner conductor
Valeriy Sokolov violin

Smetana: The Bartered Bride – Overture 7′
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2 36′
Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 38′

Bohemian rhapsodies: when Smetana’s overture to The Bartered Bride burst into fizzing dancing life, so did Czech music. CBSO principal guest conductor Edward Gardner directs a concert of warm sunshine and dark shadows, finishing with the symphony that may not be Dvorák’s best-known – but might just be his greatest. In between comes Bartók’s powerful Second Violin Concerto: Hungarian passion, deep feeling and ear-tingling musical fireworks, played tonight by a young soloist who’s been described as “breathtaking”.   www.cbso.co.uk


Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Bartok’s Violin Concerto No.2 impressed even more, although for entirely different reasons. Gardner drew such sensitivity and character from the orchestra, and so many subtleties from the kaleidoscopically transparent score (the delicacies of the Andante involving woodwind, harp and celesta were quite magical), there were times when you almost stopped listening to the soloist.

But the quietly imposing presence and dazzling technique of Valeriy Sokolov made that quite impossible. The young Ukrainian’s vibrant warmth was, as it should be in Bartok’s most melodious outpourings, tinged with elegiac poignancy, while the more virtuosic elements of the piece sparkled with agility.”     …

Joshua Bell plays Bruch and Beethoven

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events

Sunday 14 October

Symphony Hall

Please note this replaces the previously advertised programme:

Beethoven: Overture, Egmont, Op 84      9′

Beethoven: Romance No 2 in F Major, Op 50     9′

Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Op 46     30′

Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 in A Minor, Op 56. Scottish    40′


The 21-year old Joshua Bell made his first concerto disc in 1988 with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under its founder, Sir Neville Marriner. Twenty-four years later, he’s now one of the world’s most acclaimed violinists.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of today’s recommended concert:

This is the American violinist’s first year as Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Joshua Bell says the role is an amazing opportunity: ‘It’s a dream come true… They’re such an exciting orchestra, they really play on the edge of their seats.’     http://www.thsh.co.uk




Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

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…     “In Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy Bell and the Academy interplayed the contrasts of lilting folk tunes with intricate detail and strong melodies with gentle moments of finely held calm. The complexity of the piece gave Bell his moments to shine, reminding us of why he is so highly regarded as a soloist.

Finally we were given a treat with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3, the Scottish Symphony. Taking his inspiration from a visit to Scotland, Mendelssohn captures not only echoes of Hebridean tunes but also those swirling mists of the glens and mightiness of the lofty mountains.

As Bell maintained the musical conversation with his fellow artists, we were swept away through a range of emotional responses.”

Leningrad Symphony 70th Anniversary

The St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra:

Leningrad Symphony 70th Anniversary

Part of Rebellion and Resistance… more events…

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Tuesday 2nd October 2012

Symphony Hall

The St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra
Brass players of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Dmitriev conductor
Peter Donohoe piano

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor 39’
Shostakovich Symphony No 7, Leningrad 69’

6.15pm Pre-concert talk by Stephen Johnson

Peter Donohoe’s encore – Rachmaninov – Opus 23 Prelude

St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra encores –  

Rachmaninov – Vocalise;  Excerpts from Ballet Ramonde by Glasunov

Distinguished musicians from St Petersburg (Leningrad) are joined by members of the CBSO to mark 70 years since the heroic Leningrad premiere of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony in August 1942. That performance was relayed over public loudspeakers to the starving inhabitants of a city besieged by Nazi forces, and was an event of huge symbolic importance in Russian history.

Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine, explains why he has recommended tonight’s concert:

“Here’s a wonderful opportunity to experience Shostakovich’s most poignant symphony commemorating the victims of the Second World War, one that quickly became an internationally popular symbol of resistance to totalitarianism.”




Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

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…     “With its notes of better times, its military-sounding drums and its crashing cymbals, the music echoes the experience of Leningrad’s devastating hardships. But its melodious woodwinds and gentle strings also take a listener beyond the immediate horrors faced by those within the city.

And then finally, a crescendo of brass and percussion recreates a mind-set of a people so resolute their refusal to surrender has gone down as one of history’s great battles.

Seventy years on, the work has lost none of its power. It may be performed well out of its original context today but it nevertheless reminds us of the indomitable human spirit.”     …

Dvořák’s New World Symphony

Tuesday 2 October 2012 at 2.15pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0603

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Nicholas Collon conductor
Francesco Piemontesi piano

Berlioz: Beatrice and Benedict – Overture 8′
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20, K.466 30′
Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) 40′ Listen on Spotify

Francesco Piemontesi’s Encore – slow movement of Schubert’s Sonata in A major D664

As the inspiration behind London’s award-winning Aurora Orchestra, the young British conductor Nicholas Collon has thrown aside convention and let fresh air in on the capital’s music scene. Making his CBSO debut today, he’s the ideal partner for the inspirational Italian pianist Francesco Piemontesi in Mozart’s powerful 20th Piano Concerto – and just the man to bring new life to Dvorák’s ever-popular New World Symphony. Berlioz’s playful Overture is the perfect appetiser, full of love and laughter.