Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

Wednesday 9 October 2013 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Olari Elts  conductor

Christian Tetzlaff  violin

Mozart: Idomeneo – Ballet Music 12′

Haydn: Symphony No. 86 28′

Beethoven: Violin Concerto 42′ Listen on Spotify Watch on YouTube

Master,   pupil and friend: between them, Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart transformed the   history of music. Tonight’s concert begins with the white-hot inspiration of   Mozart’s breakthrough opera, and ends with soloist Christian Tetzlaff soaring   high above the sunlit romantic landscape of Beethoven’s great Violin Concerto.   No-one conducts this music with more panache than Olari Elts; so when he turns   to Haydn’s exuberant 86th Symphony, the results should be little short of explosive.



Review by Peter Marks, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

“Every once in a while, as a reviewer, you are so utterly transfixed by a performance that it becomes an incredible effort to wrench yourself back into reality in order to put pen to paper, such is the visceral impact. And so it was with Christian Tetzlaff’s performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

The context for the concerto, logically placed in the second half of the concert, had been set earlier with pieces by composers who had great influence on the young Beethoven: Mozart and Haydn. The influence of both were felt keenly throughout the concerto, from the astonishing invention Beethoven weaves from the basic four note opening motif first heard on timpani (here, effectively articulated by Peter Hill using wooden-headed sticks) to the sublime, soaring, melodies in between.

Tetzlaff’s opening arpeggio emerged with a perfectly judged gradation from ethereal softness to a commanding fullness of tone. This tone was incredibly sweet in the high register, where much time is spent in this work, yet gutsy when required.”     …



Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…     “But his grip on this wonderful work stimulated the imagination, martial elements (Peter Hill’s hard-sticked timpani a sensitive foil) combining with folky or hymn-like aspects. It took a long time to warm to this interpretation, but it brought its own rewards.

Earlier we were brought rare works by Beethoven’s two great Viennese predecessors: Mozart’s Idomeneo ballet music proved intriguing in its scoring, brightly delivered under Elt’s baton, and revealing in its thematic links with the powerful opera itself.

And Haydn’s Symphony no.86 (many years ago recorded by the CBSO under Simon Rattle) was brisk and affectionate, subtle, well-nuanced, and sparkling with glorious woodwind.”

Nelsons Conducts Brahms


Wednesday 28 September 2011 at 7.30pm

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

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Christian Tetzlaff violin

Strauss: Don Juan 18′
Dvořák: Violin Concerto 31′
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 39′

Hold onto your seats – because no piece of music explodes into life more thrillingly than Richard Strauss’s dazzling Don Juan. And no-one conducts it with more verve than Andris Nelsons. That’s just the start of a concert that finds the great Christian Tetzlaff playing Dvorák’s lovely song-and-dance of a Violin Concerto, and Nelsons and the CBSO luxuriating in the warm glow of Brahms’s sunniest and most lyrical symphony. Happy endings guaranteed!

This concert is being broadcast by BBC Radio 3

Christian Tetzlaff’s encore – Bach Partita No 3 in E Major – Gavotte en rondeau

Review by Michael Church, Independent:

…     “You couldn’t wish for a better exponent today than the German violinist Christian Tetzlaff, with his Protean ability to take on the character of whatever work he is playing. The character here was Slavonic, and from his opening flourish he found a genial sweetness of tone. Even when playing pianissimo and stratospherically high, he still dominated the orchestra, with Andris Nelsons calibrating the textures in sympathetic support. In the melody-rich Adagio, Tetzlaff’s job was to sing non-stop, and he did this as one imagines his Central European predecessors must have done a century ago.”     …

Review by Patsy Fuller, Coventry Telegraph:

“It’s a real a treat to hear Dvorak’s Violin Concerto in the concert hall. […]    

[…]     CBSO concerts are always exciting with Nelsons at the helm and this was up there with the very best.”

Rating * * * * *

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post (for matinee of same programme):

…    “but a poignant one, too, as it was bassoonist John Schroder’s last Birmingham concert after 45 years with the CBSO.

Appropriately, it ended with Brahms’ Symphony no.2, probably one of the first works John ever played with the orchestra in 1966.

Typically for John, in Thursday’s reading he was part of a well-knit woodwind ensemble, delivering Brahms’ pastoral colourings with character and suave empathy. Brass and strings brought a golden, well-cushioned glow to the familiar score, and Nelsons did wonders shaping counterpoints and counter-melodies, and building what can appear a sprawling finale to a convincing conclusion.”    [ …  ]    Rating * * * * *

Nelsons Conducts Shostakovich

Wednesday 22 September 2010 at 7.30pm

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

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Christian Tetzlaff  violin

Brahms: Violin Concerto 36′
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8 62′

In Soviet Russia, listening to Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony could
have got you arrested. Huge in scale, and overwhelmingly powerful, this
epic symphonic portrayal of a nation broken by war and tyranny is the
ultimate proof that some music speaks louder than any words. No wonder
they banned it! Today, we can listen without fear – but Shostakovich’s
Eighth Symphony remains one of those masterpieces that everyone
needs to experience for themselves. No-one conducts Russian music
with more emotion – or power – than Andris Nelsons. In the hands of
German virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff, Brahms’s serene concerto should
be the lyrical calm before Shostakovich’s devastating storm.

Christian Tetzlaff’s Encore – Bach …

Review by John Gough, Birmingham Post:

…..”Christian Tetzlaff was a soloist of real distinction with a beautiful sound, subtle rubato and a spontaneity which had one on the edge of one’s seat. After a slow movement full of contemplation and lyricism the finale exploded with joy, moving in one urgent and brilliant arc towards the irresistible dance of the final bars.

Shostakovich’s Eighth symphony is music of extraordinary vehemence and power. Nelsons gave the death-haunted bleakness of the piece an aching emotional intensity in which the long, desolate cor anglais solo that emerged out of the first movement’s huge climax was a particular high-point, beautifully shaped by Alan Garner.” …..