CBSO Youth Orchestra

Rachmaninov’s Second

Sunday 21st February, 7.00pm

CBSO Youth Orchestra

Programme

  • Prokofiev  Scythian Suite , 20′
  • Rachmaninov  Symphony No. 2, 55′

Conductor Jac van Steen has a special rapport with the CBSO Youth Orchestra – and if you’ve heard them play Rachmaninov before, you’ll know to expect absolute commitment, glorious playing and pure, unbuttoned emotion when our fabulous young players tackle the ultimate Russian romantic symphony. Though after van Steen has unleashed them on the pagan frenzy of Prokofiev’s electrifying Scythian Suite, pulses should already be racing!
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CBSO Youth Orchestra: An Alpine Symphony

Sunday 1st November, 7.00pm

CBSO Youth Orchestra

Programme

  • Nielsen  Helios Overture, 12′
  • Lindberg  Clarinet Concerto , 28′
  • Strauss  An Alpine Symphony, 50′

“What a hope for the future!” declared one critic after hearing the CBSO Youth Orchestra – but tonight the future is here, as Michael Seal and 120 world-class young musicians storm the heights of Strauss’s colossal Alpine Symphony. Nielsen’s solar-powered overture and a true contemporary classic – played by another young star – launch them on their way. Glaciers? Waterfalls? Alpine storms? In the phenomenal acoustic of Symphony Hall, hearing is believing.

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Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Julian Bliss was the assured soloist, fully up to the work’s demands of phrasing, breathing, and embouchure-technique. Gloopy microtones, comedic effects? No problem, and always unfolded in a logical line teeming with incident. Seal’s CBSOYO collaborated with an empathy which belied their years.

Finally came the awesome challenge of Richard Strauss’s Alpensinfonie, a dawn to dusk traversal of a Bavarian mountain, and totally moving and exciting in its performance here. Winds are often easy to praise, and these deserved to be, but not so often do we mention the strings; here they were extraordinary, pouring out a wonderful maturity of tone, not least from the lower cohorts.

I cannot praise enough the maturity of every section. I have heard young brass players showing off like nobody’s business. I have seen percussionists turning what they do into a theatrical performance.

Nothing like that here. This was an Alpensinfonie under Michael Seal which was all about the music, and it will stay long in the memory.”

Mahler’s First Symphony: CBSO Youth Orchestra

ThumbnailRaise the Roof

Sunday 22nd February 2015 at 7.00pm

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

CBSO Youth Orchestra

Edward Gardner  conductor
Denis Kozhukhin  piano

Lutoslawski: Symphony No. 4 20′
Listen on Spotify

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 16′
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 56′
Listen on Spotify

Denis Kozhukhin’s encore – Bach – Siloti Prelude in B Minor

Mahler’s First Symphony begins by creating the world – and ends by storming Heaven itself. Well, the CBSO Youth Orchestra likes a challenge, and if you’ve heard our inspirational young players before, you’ll know that under the baton of CBSO principal guest conductor Edward Gardner we’re in for something very special indeed. Twentieth century classics by Lutoslawski and Prokofiev raise the curtain with an explosion of colour. http://www.cbso.co.uk

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Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “The orchestra clearly enjoyed immersing themselves in Mahler’s Symphony no. 1 in D major.  The work appeared under various titles in its early days, from a five-movement symphonic poem to “Titan – a tone poem in the form a symphony”, but Mahler later did away with these. There remains an implied dramatic structure based on Mahler’s own poems Songs of a Wayfarer, with the music describing the hero’s journey from unrequited love via a pastoral setting towards the finality, yet triumph, of death. The band was evidently at home with Mahler’s brilliant orchestration and confidently tackled the subtleties and nuances that brought the landscape and journey to life. The minor-key Frère Jacques theme of the funeral march was particularly effective, with the chance for individual young musicians to shine, from menacing double-bass onwards. The final “triumphal” pages were exactly that, with upstanding brass giving it their all. Then it was time to get the whole crew on their feet for well-earned enthusiastic applause.”

The Planets: CBSO Youth Orchestra

ThumbnailCBSO 2020Raise the Roof

Sunday 2nd November 2014 at 7.00pm

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

CBSO Youth Orchestra

Ben Gernon  conductor
John Mark Ainsley  tenor
CBSO Youth Chorus

Turnage: Passchendaele CBSO co-commission – UK premiere) 10′
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge 23′
Holst: The Planets (including Matthews Pluto) 54′
Listen on Spotify

Since 2004, the CBSO’s world-class Youth Orchestra has been pushing back the frontiers of what young musicians can achieve. Tonight, in a special 10th anniversary celebration, CBSO Youth Orchestra alumnus Ben Gernon conducts our superb young players in Holst’s spectacular The Planets, and unwraps a unique birthday present: a powerful new work, inspired by the year 1914, from one of Britain’s greatest living composers.

If you like this concert, you might also like:
MacMillan’s St Luke Passion, Thursday 4th December, 2014
Elgar’sEngima Variations, Wednesday 10th December & Saturday 13th December, 2014
Mahler’s First Symphony: CBSO Youth Orchestra, Sunday 22nd February, 2015

Support the CBSO

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Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “The premiere was Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Passchendaele, co-commissioned with help from long term CBSO supporters John Cole and Jennie Howe, and written in commemoration of the horrific events of the First World War.

Beginning with awe-inspiring trombone intonations, progressing through magical woodwind intimations and persuasive strings, it continues through a brass summons to a percussion-led outcry, all the while with a seamlessly arching line of anger and grief.

It was so moving to hear this Youth Orchestra paying homage to the doomed youth of a century ago, and moving, too, to witness the authoritative conducting of young Ben Gernon, himself a CBSOYO alumnus.

Fittingly, the programme’s other two composers had in fact served in the Great War. Vaughan Williams was represented by his Housman song-cycle On Wenlock Edge, its clattery orchestration sometimes blessedly subsiding into hushed tones which the musicians conveyed with the utmost sensitivity.

John Mark Ainsley was soloist, his particular kind of tenor timbre, questing and ruminative, well-suited to this period piece, ” …

*****

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Review by Roderic Dunnett, MusicWeb, SeenandHeard:

Click here for full review

…     “And what did one hear? Magnificent ensemble and dazzling precision, all units pulling together. Some enchanting, atmospheric violin solos from young leader Charlotte Moseley in the second movement, and then another whiff that sounded as beautifully wan as Rimsky-Korsakov (Scheherazade is a work one might indeed compare The Planets to, in dimension and concept). The two solo oboe passages wrapped round solo clarinet in the same (second) movement sounded like pure Delius – i.e. not just mightily well played, but acutely scrumptious and characterful..The whole thing, like so much Debussy or Roussel, is a masterclass in orchestration: who would have noticed that just one trumpet (Matthew Frost, I think) plays at the start of ‘Jupiter’: so utterly assured, the effect, even amid quite thick textures, is extraordinary.

 Gernon’s success was keeping what might have been a rather bawdy, rumbustious romp so elegantly under control. As a result, detail spoke loud. There was no mush. The violin sound was precise, lucid, focused – the seconds as well as the top line, some expressive moments in the violas, and particularly some hugely rewarding, sonorous sounds from double basses and cellos, playing separately or as one. Pure magic and growing mystery from harps, singly or paired (as in ‘Saturn’), and Jing Yi Goh’s immensely attentive celesta (by the time we reached ‘Neptune’, it was starting to sound like Schreker’s Der Ferne Klang, which dates from time that Holst first conceived the war-coincident work).”     …

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Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “It is in fact one of the trademarks of this orchestra that they’re up for the challenge of new commissions, and they tackled Passchendaele with a maturity beyond their years. There was as much assurance in the full, multi-textured, angry orchestral sound as there was in the solo and ensemble fanfares and more reflective moments. Within the space of ten minutes, plaintive melodies on trombones were answered by orchestra; clashing percussion gave way to more melodic strings; a sinking, labouring feeling was punctuated with horns and gongs, shifts in the time signature creating a sense of tension and unease; outbursts gradually subsided and led back through the wind section to a poignant trumpet solo. A sense of calm rather than peace, to which the audience responded with thoughtful rather than ecstatic applause.     […]

[…]    After the interval Gernon and the orchestra seemed much more at home with The Planets, enjoying the build-up from a menacing opening into an explosive frenzy in their depiction of Mars, the Bringer of War. Hard to believe that Holst had already started writing this movement before hostilities started in 1914.

The contrasts between the more energetic and slower movements were skilfully handled, as were the expressive dynamics and contributions from solo violin, cello, woodwind and lively percussion team. The CBSO Youth Chorus, with a 20-year history, shone as ethereal voices offstage, breathing an extra dimension into the already captivating atmosphere of Neptune, the Mystic, like wind. With the inclusion of Colin Matthews’ additional movement Pluto, the Renewer, the voices were employed again to bring the music back to Holst’s own final chord.  An effective end to a highly entertaining birthday party.”

CBSO Youth Orchestra

  • Thumbnail           Discover

Sunday 3 November 2013 at 3.30pm

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

CBSO Youth Orchestra

Ilan Volkov   conductor

Allison Bell  soprano

Debussy: La Mer 23′ Listen on Spotify Watch on YouTube
Messiaen: Poèmes pour Mi 27′

Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 31′

Sibelius’s   Fifth Symphony was inspired by a flight of swans. Debussy was drunk on the beauty   of the sea. And the young Messiaen put all his love for his new wife into nine   blissful songs. Gorgeous colours and big, big emotions: exactly what the CBSO   Youth Orchestra does best. So join Ilan Volkov and our superb young players   and share the joy of discovery, as together they bring this glorious music vibrantly   to life.  www.cbso.co.uk

If you like this concert, you might also like:

The Organ Symphony, Thursday 30th January 2014

CBSO Youth Orchestra, Sunday 23rd February 2014

Andris and Håkan in Concert, Wednesday 28th May 2014

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Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “A singer without Allison Bell’s power and projection might have been overwhelmed by so much orchestral posturing (which Volkov admittedly did little to minimise), but this remarkable soprano coped with everything thrown at her, grabbing every opportunity for expressive display and, notably in the Alleluias of the first song, rejoicing in the sheer voluptuousness of the music.

After such hot stuff the exposed scoring of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 left the players with little room to hide. Volkov’s cogently paced reading, though, was very persuasive, even if some individual contributions lacked added value. The finale in particular had a compelling sense of progression – and those wonderful hammer blows were perfectly executed.”  

CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy

Friday 20 July 2012 at 7.30pm

Birmingham Town Hall

City of Birmingham Youth Orchestra

Michael Seal conductor

Shostakovich (arr. Barshai): Chamber Symphony Op.110a 20′
Janácek (arr. Seal): On an Overgrown Path 20′
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 (The Great) 57′

When 19th-century musicians first tried Schubert’s “Great” C major Symphony, they declared it “unplayable”! So it should be the perfect challenge for the inspirational young players of our superb Youth Orchestra Academy, and a glorious burst of musical sunshine for the start of the summer holidays.

First, though, come two very different modern masterpieces: Shostakovich’s searing musical self-portrait (an arrangement of his Eighth String Quartet), and the enchanted miniature universe of Janácek’s On an Overgrown Path, in a magical new orchestration by CBSO associate conductor Michael Seal. www.cbso.co.uk

Review by Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Shostakovitch’s Chamber Symphony is his Eighth String Quartet given a new slant by violist Rudolof Barshai, therefore strings only, facing and conquering technical challenges. Eerie faintly-recognisable ghostly quotes – typical Shostakovitch testing the Russian regime’s criticisms with poignancy of suppressed and banned snippets and gutsy interjections – scary to play but approached with vigour and confidence. Lovely solo cello from Joss Brookes melded beautifully with final muted strings.”     … 

 ***** 

CBSO Youth Orchestra

Birmingham Mahler Cycle

Sunday 31 October 2010 at 7.00pm

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

Alan Buribayev  conductor
Katarina Karnéus  mezzo-soprano
CBSO Youth Orchestra   

Wagner: Tannhäuser – Overture 14′ Listen
requires Real Player
Mahler: Rückert Lieder 18′
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 (The Year 1905) 65′

History lessons were never meant to be this exciting. Shostakovich’s
11th Symphony isn’t just a musical re-telling of the failed Revolution of
1905; it’s an epic drama – a vast, teeming panorama of a great nation
on the brink of chaos. It’s been compared to a film score, but, this
being Shostakovich, it’s also a powerful and emotionally-charged
musical tragedy, shot through with coded messages. It’ll be a thrilling
challenge for our world-class Youth Orchestra – and who better to
harness all that youthful energy than veteran Russian maestro Vassily
Sinaisky? First, though, comes Mahler’s ravishing Rückert Lieder –
part of this season’s Birmingham Mahler Cycle – and Wagner’s
barnstorming overture, a heady mix of solemn grandeur and raw,
untamed passion. Sounds perfect for our young players!  www.cbso.uk

Blog post by KidsMusicCorner.co.uk:

http://kidsmusiccorner.co.uk/2010/11/01/scary-music-on-halloween/

…”The members of this orchestra are all aged between 14 and 21, so many will still be at school. But this was no school orchestra. The quality of their playing was far better than that of many adult orchestras. Not only that, they were extremely energetic, enthusiastic and exciting as well. It was truly amazing to see so many young people working together in this way…

….”Well done CBSO Youth Orchestra! You played with real fire—especially Rachel Starmer on the timpani who was truly demon-possessed!”

 Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2010/11/05/review-cbso-youth-orchestra-at-symphony-hall-65233-27592893/

… “for after the interval we heard a performance of Shostakovich’s epic Symphony no. 11 as searing as you would hope to hear from any professional outfit.
Taut, generously phrased, vibrantly coloured, and with an amazing delivery of the continually taxing timpani part from Rachel Starmer, this account was stamped with quality from every department.”