Celebrity Recital: Natalie Clein

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Fri 6 May 7:30pm at Town Hall

Natalie Clein cello
Katya Apekisheva piano

J S Bach Solo Cello Suite No 2 in D Minor 18’
Shostakovich Cello Sonata in D Minor 29’
Sibelius Malinconia 13’
Rachmaninov Cello Sonata in G Minor 33’

Encore – Schumann – Fantasy

Few British performers have caught the public’s imagination as much as cellist Natalie Clein. Her programme includes Rachmaninov’s great Sonata, one of his most passionate and poetic works.

BBC Music magazine’s Editor, Oliver Condy, explains why he has recommended tonight’s concert:
“A natural, charming musician, Natalie Clein is the foremost cellist of her generation. She came to prominence after winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1994 with a spell-binding performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, a work she recorded with great acclaim for EMI Classics.” www.thsh.co.uk

Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Tue 26 Oct 7:30pm at Town Hall, Birmingham

Academy of Ancient Music

Richard Egarr director/harpsichord

J S Bach The Six Brandenburg Concertos 96’

Brandenburg Concerto No 1 in F Major, BWV1046
Brandenburg Concerto No 6 in B Flat Major, BWV1051
Brandenburg Concerto No 2 in F Major, BWV1047
Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D Major, BWV1050
Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G Major, BWV1048
Brandenburg Concerto No 4 in G Major, BWV1049

Bach’s Six Brandenburg Concertos are overflowing with music of supreme energy, tunefulness, good humour and invention. For nearly forty years the Academy of Ancient Music has been at the forefront of Baroque performance, playing ‘always with a scholar’s attention to accuracy and a rock musician’s joyous zeal’ (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert:
“The Brandenburg Concertos were so named for an ungrateful Marquis who didn’t particularly care for them. Perhaps the minor royal was having a bad day because each of these jewels has something exceptional to offer the listener.” www.thsh.co.uk

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb International:


… “No 2 in F major closed the first half in fine style. The arrangement of the first movement reminded me of traditional jazz practice, the four soloists (trumpet, violin, recorder and oboe) ‘breaking’ from the tutti. And each individual contribution from the quartet was outstanding. Is there a better baroque trumpet player than David Blackadder? He handled, or should that be tongued, the high and difficult line with apparent ease; his clarity of tone, whether sustained or for the briefest of quavers, had the audience on the edge of their seats. ” …

Rattle’s Bach

Saturday 6 March 2010 at 7.00pm

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

Sir Simon Rattle  conductor
Camilla Tilling  soprano
Magdalena Kozená  mezzo-soprano
Mark Padmore  tenor, EVANGELIST
Topi Lehtipuu  tenor
Christian Gerhaher  baritone, CHRISTUS
Thomas Quasthoff  baritone
CBSO Chorus   
CBSO Children’s Chorus  

Bach: St. Matthew Passion (sung in English with German surtitles 151′

In the whole of music there’s nothing else quite like it: Bach’s dramatic re-telling of the events of Holy Week has a power and expressive beauty that add up to an overwhelming experience. Returning to the CBSO for the first time in four years, our former music director Sir Simon Rattle leads an outstanding international cast and our own acclaimed choruses in what is sure to be one of the hottest tickets of this or any season – be sure to book early! www.cbso.co.uk

This concert will be broadcast on Radio 3 on Wednesday 10th March from 6:30pm            http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00r8b5r

Review by Richard Morrison, Times:


…”It was also, overwhelmingly, a communal act of music making. Yes, there were superb individuals. Mark Padmore, perhaps with Langridge in mind, sang the Evangelist with mesmerising expression, clarity and directness — and all from memory. Christian Gerhaher’s Christus became more and more commanding; his final cry of despair seemed torn from deep within him.

Magdalena Kozená produced one heartbreaking aria after another. She is twice the singer when she commits emotionally. And in Erbarme dich she was matched by Laurence Jackson’s sublime violin solo, the best of many fine instrumental contributions from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.” …

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:


…”Much of the solo singing was exceptional. Mark Padmore’s Evangelist was a remarkable achievement, sung from memory with crystal-clear diction and a fabulous range of colour, while Christian Gerhaher’s Christus was the perfect complement, a model of understated eloquence. Magdalena Kozˇená’s mezzo-soprano arias were highlights, too, full of consoling warmth and consistent beauty of tone, and both soprano Camilla Tilling and tenor Topi Lehtipuu combined stylishness with expressive depth.” …

Blog by Judith Ogden:


…”As Simon Rattle stepped up to the podium for his eagerly-awaited return the warmth of the applause was almost overwhelming. And then on to the music. From the outset, the clarity of the orchestra – playing without vibrato and with such exquisitely perfect intonation – was breathtaking. It meant you get past the notes and can hear the music. Rattle’s conducting style is so familiar (I’ve only seem him live once before but he seems to pop up on the telly quite frequently) yet so unexpected as he found depths, phrases, nuances in the score I’d never heard before – coaxing them from the orchestra with a lean towards them, a raise of an eyebrow, the fluttering fingers of his left hand.” …

Review by Bill Kenny, MusicWeb:


…”Even so, a  better Evangelist than Mark Padmore is difficult to imagine. Placed in front of the podium and singing the work from memory, his effortless tenor filled  the Hall with drama and with exquisite sound. Every word in the text was meaningful and compelling, full of interest and empathic sensitivity shaded carefully by ever-changing vocal colours. Mr Padmore knows this music inside out and clearly cares about it very deeply. … 
…  Fine as the solo singing was,  the evening belonged to the CBSO’s players and singers and to Simon Rattle. The bond between musicians and their former Chief Conductor seemed as strong as ever and Rattle’s direction was model of quietly authoritative economy. His stamp was placed firmly on the work from the opening bars of ‘Kommt, ihr Töchter helft mir klagen’ through to the final choruses: conducting without a baton and with minimalist gesture,  he sculpted ravishing and superbly controlled sound from his massive forces – no historically ‘correct’ performance this – to sustain the work’s momentum as an organic whole.” …

Review by Lynne Walker, The Independent:


“Rattle’s Bach” is how the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra publicised its St. Matthew Passion at the weekend. It could as easily have been “Rattle’s Passion”, given the spontaneity and cumulative emotional power which distinguished the first of two sold-out performances of this baroque choral masterpiece. The CBSO, playing on modern instruments, showed that exquisitely voiced accompaniments, sensitively shaped and sympathetically phrased, needn’t be the preserve of period instrument orchestras.” …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:


…”Engagement from the soloists was vivid, baritone Thomas Quasthoff particularly involved, but outstanding among them all was Mark Padmore. Singing the huge part of the Evangelist without a score, his presence compelled throughout all three hours of the performance: even when not singing himself, he was constantly immersed, and frequently outraged, at the unfolding of this terrible story.” …

Murray Perahia Plays Bach and Mozart

Fri 13 Nov 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Murray Perahia piano/director

J C Bach Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, T288/7
Mozart Piano Concerto No 17 in G, K453
J S Bach Concerto No 3 in D, BWV1054
Mozart Symphony No 38, Prague

Maturity, elegance and simplicity are hallmarks of Murray Perahia’s performances. In the great classical works he is ardent, persuasive, but never dull. With this concert Perahia extends his range, directing Mozart and Bach from the keyboard and taking up the baton for the Prague Symphony – a work of grandeur, majesty and celebratory exuberance. www.thsh.co.uk

Encore: Final movement Haydn Symphony?

Review by Rian Evans, Guardian:


“The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is celebrating its half-century by touring Europe with Murray Perahia as pianist/director. ….The Academy players were alert to Perahia’s every nuance, with flautist Adam Walker and oboist Christopher Cowie outstanding.” 5/5