Opening Concert: Anne-Sophie Mutter Plays Dvořák


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Saturday 21 September 2013 at 7.00pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 

Andris Nelsons  conductor

Anne-Sophie Mutter  violin

Wagner: Tannhäuser – Overture 14′

Dvořák: Violin Concerto 32′

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring 32′

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s encore – JS Bach – Sarabande in D Minor

With some artists, just the mention of their name is enough. So Andris Nelsons and the entire CBSO are thrilled to welcome Anne-Sophie Mutter to Birmingham. “Seeing her perform is an experience that can make you gasp” wrote one critic, and that’s   just the centrepiece of a concert that begins with the overture that sparked   Nelsons’s love of music, and ends with the elemental power of Stravinsky’s shattering    Rite of Spring. Take a deep breath: this should be unforgettable.



Review by Patsy Fuller, Coventry Telegraph:

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“This scorcher of a concert was like a dazzling fireworks display on a warm, late-summer night.

With so much firepower it’s hard to single out what was most exciting.

Was it the superb performance of Dvorak’s Violin Concerto by the poised and passionate virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter? Or the pulsating delivery of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; brooding, threatening and totally riveting.

And just for starters, there was Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture; majestic and full of drama.

But what made this concert so very explosive was the man at the helm – the CBSO’s music director Andris Nelsons with his remarkable talent for drawing out every nuance of emotion from every note of music; and demanding – and getting – nothing but the best from his musicians.”     …




Review by John Allison, Telegraph:

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…     “In a season awash with performances of Stravinsky’s ballet score – its centenary was celebrated in May – this one stood out. Nelsons caught the essence of the ritualised drama right from a mysterious opening, and with a flickering baton encouraged colourful solos from his wind section especially. In the acoustics of Symphony Hall, every member of this pounding orchestral machine made their mark. But the heavily lumbering lower strings seldom have such presence, and the hauntingly lyrical passages were full of wistfulness.”     …




Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

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…     “Mutter stood surprising far back and very close to the conductor’s podium, so for audience members in certain positions in the hall she would have been visually eclipsed by Nelsons. This would have been a shame, as it was as much a joy to watch her involvement with the piece as to hear her virtuoso execution of it. The control of pianissimo passages was delightful, as were the foot-tapping dance rhythms of the finale, supported by finely balanced and exciting playing from the CBSO. Taking her applause, which included cheers and whistles, Mutter offered Nelsons her cloth for his fevered brow, raising a chuckle all round.

An encore was prefaced with the soloist’s invitation to “lower your heart rate a little…”, and she gave us an exquisite rendition of J.S.Bach’s Sarabande in D minor, with a long final note that defied belief.

A hundred years and a million miles since its original riotous reception, tonight’s Rite of Spring received instead tumultuous acclaim. This tour de force, full of complex technical innovations in its day, seems to be a minefield of coordination of the massive orchestral forces, which paid off with truly exciting results. Texture galore, from the initial lone bassoon through the layering of other soloists, groups, whole sections and full orchestra, with a strong emphasis on pulse. It’s music that cries out to be heard (and seen) live – the cellists’ heads thrusting to repeated, pounding, accented beats will be a lasting visual memory.”     …



Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

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…     “In years to come Nelsons’ first and second performances of Stravinsky’s revolutionary masterwork will no doubt go down in the CBSO annals as defining moments of his conducting career – and I’ll be very surprised if Orfeo’s recording doesn’t provide a new benchmark of excellence.

Yes, there was much primeval pounding and snarling in this Rite but also many erotically charged passages of perfumed orientalism and sensuality. And, such was the power and beauty of the playing it induced at the end a sense more of glorious fulfilment than merciful release – perfect in every way.”


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