Brahms’ Fourth: Youth Orchestra Academy

Sunday 26th July, 7.00pm

Featuring

Programme

  • Lindberg Aventures, 12′
  • Strauss Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme – suite, 36′
  • Brahms  Symphony No. 4, 40′

“Astonishing” was one critic’s verdict on the CBSO Youth Orchestra’s recent 10th anniversary concert. Now the superb young players bring the birthday celebrations to a close with a concert that looks both forwards and back. Brahms’s mighty Fourth Symphony draws its strength from Bach, while Richard Strauss’s delicious Le Bourgeois gentilhomme brings the baroque spirit dancing into the 20th century. First, though, take a joyride through four centuries of orchestral favourites with one of our most brilliant living composers.

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Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

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…     “Highlights included the gentle oboe joined by other winds and horns in the overture; flutes bringing out the dance-like quality of the minuet; the exuberance and confidence of the piano/trumpet combination painting the fencing master’s antics; leader Charlotte Moseley weaving in and out with the tailor’s precision stitches making sure the gentleman is suitably clad; an affecting, poignant muted sarabande; and the sheer joie de vivre of the dinner party itself, falling scales passed around the instruments like infectious laughter. The audience lapped it up and Seal applauded his players before turning to acknowledge the warm reception himself.

After the interval the stage was once more filled to the brim for Brahms’ Symphony no. 4 in E minor. As it happens, my last review also featured this piece, played by the Dresden Philharmonic, so how would these less experienced players fare by comparison? Let’s just say they didn’t just fill the stage, they owned it! The CBSO YOA tackled Brahms’ massive structure of a work with maturity beyond their years and really came into their own. From the confident, majestic attack and warmth of the strings, through fine handling of tempo changes to the first movement’s passionate close, they showed both discipline and musicality. The second movement allowed us a good wallow, the unanimity of the lower strings’ pizzicato paired with the poised line of brass and wind. In the third movement they brought out both a playful and martial feel, confident answering chords moving on apace. Full marks to the flute solo in the final movement, as well as the clarinet and eloquent trombones. Turning the corner into the clamorous closing stages, with staccato urgency and energy, this enthusiastic and talented orchestra rounded off a fine night of music-making. The audience may not have been full, but we enjoyed it fully.”

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Review by Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post:

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…     “A totally accessible, rarely performed, R Strauss’s ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilehomme’ suite charmed and delighted all. The reduced baroque orchestra has many exposed personal solos, from tender oboe, cello and viola to a sturdy bass trombone. As ever Strauss enjoys stretching his horns to the full, added to which the six percussionists tactfully made their mark with good effect. Smiling music for all, especially the braying sheep and twittering interruptive birds!

Then to the true meat of this evening: Brahms’ Symphony No 4. The full orchestra swept in with gutsy strings and splendid woodwind solo snippets. Although do take care with truly clean violin entries, even one hesitation shows through. Determined pizzicatos threatened to overwhelm at times but otherwise a truly passionate rendering of this challenging work. Brahms used a (beautifully played here) solemn flute as a soloist in the passacaglia until eventually trombones come into their own with their chunky solemn quasi sacred moment.”     …

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CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy

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Saturday 26th July 2014 at 7.00pm

Town Hall, Birmingham 0121 345 0603

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra Academy

Michael Seal  conductor

Kodály: Dances of Marosszek 12′
Strauss: Metamorphosen 26′
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) 47′
Listen on Spotify

Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony blew classical music sky-high. Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen is a cry of anguish in a world devastated by madness. This is music of extremes: ardent, eloquent, and pulsing with emotion – in other words, perfect for the 50 committed young musicians of the superb CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy. Kodály’s fiery Transylvanian dances light the touchpaper: prepare to be blown away.

“These marvellous young players are invincible”

Please allow extra time to travel to this concert if you are coming by road. The A38 St Chad’s and Queensway tunnels through Birmingham will be completely closed to all traffic from 10pm on Friday 18 July until 6am on Monday 1 September 2014. More information is available from brumtunnels.co.uk.

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Michael Seal conducted a strong sinewy performance where details were clear – the slow movement’s plaintive oboe lament and the basses’ stabbing interventions for example – but always suborned to the overall narrative drive.

The players clearly relished Beethoven’s dramatic thrusts and parries but also excelled in the jolly bucolic trio with its virtuoso hunting calls – fine work by the horns – and the skittish dancing finale.

The symphony’s funeral march stalks eerily through the bass line at the close of Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen, his string threnody to the destruction of his beloved Dresden, the tainting of German culture by the Nazis and perhaps his own ill-fated collaboration with them.

The bass section captured perfectly how the music crumbles into dust as Beethoven’s accusatory shade appears.”     …

*****

CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy

Sunday 21 July 2013 at 3.00pm

Town Hall, Birmingham 0121 345 0603

Michael Seal  conductor

Revueltas: Homenaje a Federico García Lorca 12′

Ravel: Mother Goose (complete) 28′

Korngold: Much Ado About Nothing – Suite 21′

Mozart: Symphony No. 36 (Linz) 26′

A mariachi band, a French fairy tale, a Shakespearean rom-com, and a symphony written in four days flat! Under the inspirational baton of Michael Seal, a chamber orchestra drawn from the very best of the CBSO Youth Orchestra’s superb young players explores three extraordinary 20th century masterpieces – from the Latin-American energy of Revueltas, to the luscious romance of Hollywood composer Erich Korngold. And did we mention Mozart’s most brilliant symphony? There’s a special electricity about everything our Youth Orchestra plays – come and share the thrill of discovery.

Please note: The St Chad’s and Queensway tunnels will be completely   closed to all traffic from 19 July to 2 September. The closure will be preceded   by four weeks of overnight closures, from 10pm to 6am, and followed by up to   two weeks of similar overnight closures. For more information please follow   this link: www.brumtunnels.co.uk

Please allow plenty of time for your journey as traffic disruptions are likely.

www.cbso.co.uk

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “A delightful piece of programming gave us a complete contrast – Korngold’s delicately-scored suite of incidental music to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Not for nothing was Korngold’s middle name Wolfgang. Like that other wunderkind his light music combines charm, romanticism and the sensuous without ever breaking sweat. That the orchestra could play two such differing works with equal aplomb is a credit to their talent and the patient conducting of Michael Seal.

Mozart’s own Linz symphony zipped along merrily from the properly spiritoso first movement to the kinetic, but never frenetic, finale. Ravel’s complete Mother Goose ballet showed the orchestra at its finest with each fairytale character vividly realized in virtue of stylish playing from every section.”     …

*****