The CBSO’s Great Big Choral Christmas

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Friday 23 December 2011 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Simon Halsey conductor
Sue Perkins presenter
CBSO Choruses

We’d like to welcome you to join us for Christmas festivities with the whole CBSO family – a joyful celebration of seasonal music with the Orchestra and over 250 singers of the CBSO Choruses. Expect festive music a-plenty, from well-known favourites to some unusual treats, plus a generous helping of your favourite carols for all to sing. TV personality, panel-show regular – and winner of the BBC’s conducting series Maestro – Sue Perkins adds a dash of her trademark humour to proceedings, with her favourite Christmas stories and readings.

Download the CBSO charity Christmas card and share your Christmas wishes with your friends and family. Whilst doing this, you can help to support the CBSO by donating on JustGiving. It’s quick, easy and safe and all amounts will be gratefully received. Your donation will help to continue the fantastic work of our world-class orchestra on the concert platform and in our communityhttp://www.cbso.co.uk

 

 

 

Review by Maggie Cotton, (same concert, different night) Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2011/12/23/review-cbso-s-choral-christmas-at-symphony-hall-65233-29990258/

…     “TV personality Sue Perkins presented the evening with wit and imaginative readings, adding greatly to the relaxed atmosphere. Her big moment came when, with baton in hand, she obviously enjoyed conducting the all-time favourite Sleigh Ride fronted by smiling instrumentalists dressed in every kind of festive head-gear, proving that the orchestra can also join in the fun!”     …

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There Was A Child

Saturday 18 June 2011 at 7.00pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Simon Halsey conductor
Joan Rodgers soprano
Toby Spence tenor
CBSO Chorus
CBSO Youth Chorus
CBSO Children’s Chorus

Britten: Simple Symphony 16′
Whitacre: little man in a hurry 5′
Butterworth: Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad 14′
Dove: There Was a Child 50′

The land of lost content… For over a century, English literature has revelled in nostalgia for childhood; and where words lead, music follows. Jonathan Dove wrote There Was a Child as a tribute to a friend’s son who died tragically young. Filled with both joyous celebration and heartfelt emotion, it’s a big, warm-hearted modern masterpiece in the spirit of Britten and Vaughan Williams. And it follows in an evergreen English tradition, from the bittersweet songs that George Butterworth wrote five years before his death at the Somme, through Benjamin Britten’s feisty teenage symphony, right through to Eric Whitacre’s cheerful little gem.

Please note that Ailish Tynan has had to withdraw from this concert and will be replaced by Joan Rodgers CBE. www.cbso.co.uk

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2011/06/24/review-cbso-there-was-a-child-at-symphony-hall-65233-28923073/

…      “The choral writing is totally effective, well-contoured and vibrant, the solo writing (soprano Joan Rodgers, tenor Toby Spence) equally so. Orchestral colours are expertly marshalled: Stravinsky, Britten and Adams are contributory influences, all adding to the approachability of the piece. This one is a winner.”     …

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:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/classical/article7053007.ece

…”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:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/mar/09/cbso-rattle-review

…”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:

http://www.judithogden.co.uk/

…”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:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2010/Jan-Jun10/rattle0703.htm

…”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:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/reviews/rattlest-matthew-passion-symphony-hall-birmingham-1918801.html

“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:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2010/03/12/review-bach-s-st-matthew-passion-cbso-sir-simon-rattle-at-symphony-hall-65233-26012741/

…”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.” …

Haydn 200 : The Creation

Thursday 3 December 2009 at 7.30pm

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

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Ailish Tynan  soprano
Toby Spence  tenor
Vuyani Mlinde  bass
CBSO Chorus  

Haydn: The Creation (sung in English) 109′

“When I think of God, I can’t help writing cheerful music,” admitted Joseph Haydn. So it’s no wonder that his great oratorio The Creation is one of the freshest, happiest and most unstuffy pieces of religious music ever written. Fizzy operatic arias, blockbuster choruses and a visionary musical depiction of the birth of the Universe itself – they’re all part of Haydn’s shamelessly tuneful version of the Book of Genesis. Adam and Eve even get their own love-duet! There’s no more enjoyable way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death – and to hear the CBSO’s magnificent chorus in full, resplendent voice.www.cbso.co.uk

Tonight’s concert is supported by the Tolkien Trust.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2009/12/04/review-cbso-performs-haydn-s-creation-at-symphony-hall-65233-25322809/

“…The result is irresistible in the right hands, and Nelsons’ were certainly those.

In addition to the sprightly orchestral playing (Peter Hill’s timpani looked modern but sounded so authentic) and vivid choral contributions, the continuo-playing of fortepianist Alistair Young and cellist Ulrich Heinen was alert and deliciously seasoned. …”

GERGIEV, MARIINSKY AND THE CBSO

Wednesday 14 October 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Valery Gergiev  conductor
Sergei Semishkur  tenor
Orchestra and Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre   
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and CBSO Chorus  

Prokofiev: Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution 47′
Berlioz: Grande Messe des Mortes (Requiem) 78′

A giant name – and a giant concert. Valery Gergiev is an artist whose sheer force of personality electrifies everything he conducts. So we’re thrilled that he’s bringing his legendary Mariinsky Theatre forces to join the CBSO and the CBSO Chorus in Europe’s greatest concert hall for two truly spectacular masterpieces – Prokofiev’s rousing commemoration of the 1917 revolution and Berlioz’s vast, roof-raising Requiem. With its huge chorus, four brass bands and massive orchestra, every performance of the Requiem is a special occasion – even when it isn’t being directed by one of the world’s greatest living conductors!

Absolutely awesome!

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2009/10/16/orchestras-brought-together-for-revolutionary-performance-65233-24941858/

“Choral projection in both works was exemplary, the collaboration between two great orchestras was totally without ego, and the CD-set of the Berlioz immediately on sale afterwards will preserve for all time this fabulous enterprise.”

Review by Richard Morrison, Times:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/live_reviews/article6876486.ece

“I am still reeling. Squashed on the stage were 200 players and even more singers. Offstage bands blasted out from the upper tier. And the ensemble also included air-raid sirens, a team of accordions, gunfire and a man with a megaphone shouting speeches by Stalin.”

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/oct/16/mariinsky-cbso-gergiev-review

“The music is effectively bombastic but thin, yet it’s the sort of challenge Gergiev enjoys, and he marshalled its excesses so magnificently, that one almost believed it could be a piece worth cherishing.”

Review from John Quinn, MusicWeb International:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2009/Jul-Dec09/cbso1510.htm

“This was a great occasion. It was a long evening but one that was very worthwhile and which showed that there’s nothing to beat the thrill of live music making. The Prokofiev performance was an interesting experience; the Berlioz was an unforgettable one.”

Review from Steve Beauchampé (Cantata) and Gary Whitehouse (Requiem), The Stirrer:

http://www.thestirrer.co.uk/cbso-marinsky-theatre-1910091.html

“It’s fervent, patriotic stuff, even if composed with seditious intent. As the final movement (The Constitution) reaches its rousing, intense climax, Gergiev stretches out his arms in celebration, soaking up the choral crescendo, and the rousing C Major chord with which Prokofiev tells us unequivocally: ‘It is over. It is done.’”

“I was hooked. Do not be mistaken. This is a work of spiritual depth and power that far transcends our mere mortality to present us with a profound vision of the Day of Judgement. It is dark, mysterious and vast.

…”Flawless and flowing, almost supernatural in its quality, its beauty was almost unbearable.”