A Boy Was Born: A Spring Symphony

Thursday 17 January 2013 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner conductor
Susan Gritton soprano
Kelley O’Connor alto
Allan Clayton tenor
CBSO Chorus
CBSO Youth Chorus
CBSO Children’s Chorus

Bridge: The Sea 19′ Listen on Spotify
Elgar: Sea Pictures 23′
Britten: A Spring Symphony 45′

It’s deepest winter in Birmingham, but at Symphony Hall, it’s spring! Benjamin Britten took a garland of poems, a children’s choir and a fistful of folksongs, and threw together his magical Spring Symphony: 45 irresistibly fresh minutes of blossoming tunes and rising sap. Principal guest conductor Edward Gardner has lined up an all-star team, and paired it with two bracing British seascapes to enter Britten’s 100th birthday year on the crest of a wave.

Explore Birmingham’s celebrations of Britten’s centenary here.

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Review by Andrew H. King, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Opening the concert, this suite provided an excellent opportunity to show off both the Symphony Hall acoustic and the CBSO. Elegant woodwind solos, particularly the extended flute solos of “Moonlight”, echoed as clear as crystal around the hall whilst the brilliant brass climaxes of “Storm” sought to deafen each audience member against the often boisterous gush of the strings. Of particular interest was the clarity of both the harp writing and performance; harps may easily get lost in the texture of large orchestral works if not suitably placed – but tonight every gliss and delicately fingered passage rang out with delicious accuracy. The performance and the music itself were a rare treat – one that I should like to see repeated.”     …

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Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Orchestral response was pungent, flexible and versatile under Gardner’s assured direction, and at last we reluctantly approached the conclusion, a Mastersingers-like melee, cow-horn included, introducing the glorious “Soomer is icoomen in”.

There were smiles on so many faces as we ventured out into the night to see what winter had to throw at us.”

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Review by Hilary Finch, Times = £££

Click here for full review

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2 thoughts on “A Boy Was Born: A Spring Symphony

  1. John Bramley says:

    Diasappointing concert of some of my favourite music. The soloist in Elgar’s Sea Pictures was drowned by the orchestra. In the last movement of Britten’s Spring Symphony again the orchestra was too loud so that the magical entry of ‘Soomer is icumin in’ was barely heard, Otherwise this work was excellently performed – the chorus was as brilliant as ever- and was a good contrast to the awful weather outside.

    • azuriteenigma says:

      Hi John,
      What a shame you were disappointed. I had no problem at all with hearing the soloist in Elgar’s Sea Pictures, but was in stalls… She does have a beautiful, expressive voice, but not huge projection – though that may be the work and its complexities? Also found balance fine in Spring Symphony. Thought all the choruses were indeed brilliant as ever! Hope people manage to get there Saturday now there is so much snow about!

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