Rachmaninov and Shostakovich

ThumbnailRaise the Roof

Thursday 8 May 2014 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andrés Orozco-Estrada  conductor
Simone Lamsma  violin

Ravel: Alborada del gracioso 7′
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 38′
Listen on Spotify
Watch on YouTube

Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances 37′

Simone Lamsma’s encore – Bach – Sonata 3 – Largo

Far from all he loved, Sergei Rachmaninov dreamed of another world. The result was his Symphonic Dances: half-symphony, half-ballet, all Rachmaninov. Andrés Orozco-Estrada has been a real hit with Birmingham audiences; tonight he whirls the CBSO through a vision of ghostly waltzes, life-or-death gambles, and those great, unforgettable Rachmaninov melodies – and joins star soloist Simone Lamsma in Shostakovich’s tense political thriller of a First Violin Concerto.

“I love both Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 and Symphonic Dances – come and hear some of the juiciest Cor Anglais parts in the repertoire!” (Rachael Pankhurst, Cor Anglais)

www.cbso.co.uk

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Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

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…     “Simone Lamsma then took on the monumental task of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 1. This is a work which demands a lot from its soloist who dominates the music throughout.

In the first and third movements, the violin is hauntingly melancholic almost digging deep into the soul of the troubled composer who wrote this work while out in the cold during the Stalinist regime. But in the second and final movements the violin takes on an almost fiendish power as it soars and dives seemingly without taking a breath. This is very much a work which takes no prisoners.

Rachmaninov brought back a touch of lightness to the evening with the Symphonic Dances. His final work, it harks back to many of the ideas he had developed through a lifetime of composition and performance.”   …

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Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Simone Lamsma was soloist (we don’t need to be told she’s “glamorous”, as a London broadsheet once trilled), and brought an impassioned outpouring of line and texture to the music, Orozco-Strada (sic) and the orchestra collaborating with measured sonority. This was a committed reading of a perhaps over-rated work. Lamsma’s Bach encore was calming balm in a disturbing evening.”

 

Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra and John Lill

…Play Beethoven

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Sunday 2nd March, 7:30pm

Symphony Hall

Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra

Andrés Orozco-Estrada conductor

John Lill piano

Beethoven Symphony No 6, Pastoral 39’
Piano Concerto No 4 34’
Symphony No 5 31’

Orchestra’s encore – Johann Strauss – Polka Leichtes Blut

John Lill’s very personal relationship with the music of Beethoven is one of the marvels of the modern concert scene. So it’s wonderful that as he approaches his seventieth birthday he returns to Symphony Hall – where he famously played all five Beethoven concertos in 2004. It’s the centrepiece of a programme inspired by Beethoven’s own famous 1808 benefit concert – played by an orchestra with the Viennese tradition running in its very blood.

http://www.thsh.co.uk

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Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Colombian conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada coaxed every nuance of Beethoven’s music out of the Vienna Tonkunstler, ensuring just the correct balance between dramatic overload and rippling melody.

To begin with, we had the mighty composer in playful mode with the Pastoral Symphony No 6. Its light-hearted frolics were deftly thrown into the air and then caught by the orchestra as they ricocheted back and forth between birdsong, country revels and the whole world of nature – including the powerful storm of movement IV.

John Lill then took his seat for the Piano Concerto No 4. One of today’s foremost pianists, Lill is internationally renowned for his skills with Beethoven concertos and this proved to be no exception. There were moments when the entire audience seemed to hold its breath waiting for the next key stroke while Lill also managed apparently effortless interplay with the orchestra.”     …

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

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…     “The claim that the famous motto theme represents fate knocking at the door is spurious – but it surely deserved greater gravitas than it received here. The rest of the movement whizzed past in the same way: fast, slick and rather soulless.

The andante fared better, elegant and rather balletic and the basses impressed with their galumphing gruff humour in the trio. The scherzo wasn’t sufficiently edgy and sinister and so the impact of the finale’s transformation into blazing sunlit C major was diminished since what preceded it simply wasn’t weighty and dark enough.

Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony alternated between being becalmed, with a sometimes sluggish scene by the brook, and frenetically fast. The merrymaking peasants would need a dose of amphetamines to dance at that pace. Orozco-Estrada conjured up a convincing storm but the finale was devoid of spiritual uplift and we were offered the merely pretty instead.”     …

Mozart and Mahler

Thursday 28 February 2013 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andrés Orozco-Estrada  conductor
Klara Ek  soprano

Mozart: Symphony No. 38 (Prague) 26’
Mozart: Arias 15’
Le nozze di Figaro – Deh, vieni non tardar
La finta giardiniera – Geme la tortorella
Idomeneo – Padre, germani addio
Mahler: Symphony No. 4 55’

Sleigh-bells jingle, birds sing, and with a playful wink, Gustav Mahler launches his Fourth Symphony. Not what you expected? Well, Mahler loved to surprise, and his sunniest masterpiece takes us from the Alpine meadows to a magical vision of a child’s heaven. Mozart would have loved it – so his joyous Prague Symphony is the perfect appetiser. And the link? Hear for yourself, as guest conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada joins the brilliant Swedish soprano Klara Ek in a selection of Mozart’s glorious concert arias. Pure inspiration.

http://www.cbso.co.uk

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Review by Peter Marks, BachTrack:

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…     “Klara Ek was the soprano soloist for three contrasting arias from Le nozze di Figaro, Idomeneo and La finta giardiniera. She proved to be a fine choice for these arias and her keen sense of drama, combined with impeccable intonation and creamy timbre, made me wish to hear her in a complete production of one of these operas. Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra made sensitive and attentive accompanists.

Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is considered to be one of his most Classically-proportioned symphonies both in terms of structure and the size of the orchestral forces required. It nevertheless requires a fair battery of percussion and, here, we had a stage-filling string section. There is a suave elegance to the melodic lines, particularly in the opening movement, that is reminiscent of Mozart’s writing, too.”     …

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

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...     “Mahler’s Fourth Symphony casts a spell  immediately – those tinkling sleigh bells are as inviting as a fairytale’s “Once  upon a time”.

It’s maintained to the final bars, barely whispered by the  basses as the symphony subsides into silence, like a lullaby.

Who can resist a movement whose tempo is specified as “very  cosy”? But its simplicity is superficial and deceptive, Mahler’s art that  conceals art.

The work is full of pitfalls for the unwary or  over-confident conductor – all of which Andrés Orozco-Estrada skilfully  side-stepped.”     …

*****

A First for Brahms

Saturday 4 February 2012 at 7.00pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andrés Orozco-Estrada  conductor
Akiko Suwanai  violin

Kodály: Dances of Galánta 15′ Listen on Spotify 
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto 34′ Listen on Spotify 
Brahms: Symphony No. 1 45′ 

They called it “Beethoven’s Tenth”, but when you hear the glorious melody that crowns Brahms’s First Symphony, you’ll know that it could only be by one man. That’ll be the stirring finish to this Birmingham debut from the acclaimed young Colombian maestro Andrés Orozco- Estrada, who’s made a major splash in Vienna. First, though, enjoy the gorgeous tunes and show-stopping fireworks of Tchaikovsky’s much-loved Violin Concerto. The superb Japanese virtuoso Akiko Suwanai makes an eagerly-awaited return to Birmingham.

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 Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post (for matinee concert which had Beethoven’s Egmont Overture instead of Kodály)

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…    “Originally deemed impossible to play, Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto held no problems for this violinist, the youngest-ever winner of the international Tchaikovsky Competition.

Intonation was not always perfect, but then this was a performance not a test; a joy to hear with splendid orchestral support: wonderful double-stoppings, sparks flying in passionate interchanges, heart-stopping pianissimos with woodwind and horns. A riveting performance.”     …