Mozart’s C Minor Mass

ThumbnailRelax and Revitalise

Thursday 26th June 2014 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Malin Christensson  soprano
Christine Rice  soprano
Ben Johnson  tenor
Vuyani Mlinde  bass
John Tattersdill  double bass
CBSO Chorus  

Mozart: Symphony No. 40 26′
Mozart: Misero! O sogno – Aura, che intorno spiri 11′
Mozart: Per questa bella mano 7′
Mozart: Mass in C minor 51′
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Watch on YouTube

When Mozart got married, he made a pact with heaven – and Mozart took his promises seriously. The result was the tremendous C minor Mass: a soul-shaking choral epic on the grandest possible scale. If you love Mozart’s Requiem, you’ll be knocked backwards when Andris Nelsons, the CBSO Chorus and a top-notch team of soloists come together for a concert that also features Mozart’s best-loved symphony and his only solo for double bass, featuring the CBSO’s popular section leader. Hearing is believing.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Sarah-Jane Brandon has sadly had to withdraw from these concerts. We are grateful to Malin Christensson for taking her place at short notice.



Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Mozart’s Requiem has the fame but his Mass in C minor perhaps has the more beautiful music. The wind band harmonies at the start of Et incarnatus est with Malin Christensson soaring gently above them was balm for the soul.

The Swedish soprano began the Kyrie tentatively, her trill sketchy, but relaxed and improved as the work progressed.

In Domine Deus she blended well with mezzo Christine Rice who was assured and agile in the demanding coloratura passages of Laudamus te, accompanied by crisp and energetic playing from the CBSO, astutely conducted by Andris Nelsons.

The CBSO Chorus was splendid and their intensity and dynamic range in Qui tollis made it the dark heart of the work: they’re a credit to choral director Simon Halsey.”     …



Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard, MusicWeb:

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…     “The humour of Mozart cropped up again in Per questa bella mano, an unusual combination for bass voice, solo double bass and orchestra – the only time Mozart composed for the largest member of the string section and at K612 he left it rather late. But he had his reasons! By making the instrumental obbligato part extremely difficult, Mozart (according to one source) supposedly intended to humiliate his orchestra’s double bass player for having shown an interest in his wife Constanze; a more plausible reason for its composition was simply for its inclusion in a little known comic opera of 1791. CBSO section leader John Tattersdill, who has been with them since 1973, was never going to be embarrassed: his leaps and double-stopping were more than equal to the task. Even the centre platform grouping of a male vocalist, a conductor and a double bass player struck me as somewhat comical. The low register affirmation of love from an effortless Vuyani Mlinde was deliberate in tone yet resounding in projection; together with the emphasised movements of the virtuosic Tattersdill up and down his instrument’s long neck, the combination exuded parody.”     …

Symphony Hall 21st Anniversary Concert

Tuesday 12 June 2012 at 7.30pm

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

Symphony Hall

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Simon Halsey conductor*
Christine Rice mezzo-soprano
Bryn Terfel bass-baritone
CBSO Chorus

Glinka: Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila 5′
Elgar: The Music Makers Op.69* 38′
Bizet: Les Toréadors from Carmen 4′
Donizetti: Udite, udite, o rustici from L’elisir d’amore 7′
Hazell: Folk songs from the British Isles 10′
Puccini: Te Deum from Tosca 5′
Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé 16′

Symphony Hall has been called one of the wonders of the musical world. Tonight, we toast its coming of age in the company of three more: Andris Nelsons, Simon Halsey, and the one and only Bryn Terfel. Halsey conducts the CBSO and its Chorus in the final, deeply personal masterpiece that Elgar wrote for Birmingham, before Terfel and Nelsons take the platform for a selection of arias, specially chosen to showcase Symphony Hall’s world-beating acoustic. Need we say more? A night to remember – make sure you’re there.

21st Annniversary Symphony HallThese concerts are promoted by THSH as part of the Birmingham International Concert Season / Symphony Hall 21st Anniversary Festival. A special seating plan and different discounts apply. Please check when booking by phone / in person. The concerts are not available as part of a Symphonic Selection Concert Package but can be booked in addition at the same time.

BBC Midlands Today film re Symphony Hall 21 – Click here

ITV Central film re Symphony Hall 21 – Click here

Video Wall Symphony Hall 21st Anniversary Concert – Click here


Birmingham Symphony Hall Celebrates 21st Birthday”, by Jon Griffin, Birmingham Post:

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Birmingham concert venue Symphony Hall has celebrated its 21st birthday – after hosting 7,500 events attended by ten million people.

A concert featuring the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus marked Tuesday’s milestone as part of a seven month-long series of anniversary celebrations.

An array of top artists also paid tribute to the city centre venue, which was opened by the Queen on June 12, 1991.

Andris Nelsons and Simon Halsey conducted Tuesday night’s anniversary show featuring baritone Bryn Terfel and mezzo-soprano Christine Rice.”      …


“Simon Rattle’s Greatest Achievement”, by Norman Lebrecht:

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“Twenty-one years ago last night, Birmingham got its first dedicated concert hall and Britain its best. Symphony Hall was an acoustic revelation, a marvel of transparency and flexibility, as well as a space that felt infinitely warm and welcoming. It was, at the time, the most exciting modern hall in Europe and it remains one of the three or four most pleasing.”     …

“Birmingham Symphony Hall Celebrates  21 Years”, by Catherine Vonledebur, Birmingham Mail:

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…     “Officially opened by The Queen on June 12, 1991, the 2,262 seat Symphony Hall has held more than 7,500 events and attracted over 10 million visitors.

Since then, thousands of legendary artists have graced its stage from Bruce Springsteen to Yehudi Menuhin, Liza Minnelli to Grace Jones, Ravi Shankar to Morrissey, as well as some of the world’s greatest classical soloists and orchestras. Andrew believes it is the most important 20th Century building in Birmingham and helps make the city worth living in.”     …


 “Hall’s Milestone is Music to the Ears”, by Chris Willmott

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…     “The milestone was marked with a special evening concert on Tuesday and Wednesday from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Andris Nelsons and Simon Halsey, and featuring baritone Bryn Terfel and mezzo-soprano Christine Rice.

The performances included Elgar’s The Music Makers and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe suite.”     …



Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

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…      “Nelsons top and tailed the evening with orchestral showpieces, beginning with a blisteringly fast run through the overture to Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, in which not a note was out of place. He ended with a wonderfully poised account of Ravel’s second Daphnis et Chloé Suite, exactly capturing its mixture of hazy sensuousness and brutal brilliance.

Nelsons also marshalled support for the concert’s star turn – Bryn Terfel at his most relaxed.”     …

Review by Jerald Smith, Express and Star:

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…    “This anniversary celebration provided a dazzling display of talent, most notably from Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel who showed how a gifted performer can work an audience.

He began with a swaggering version of the Toreador Song form Bizet’s Carmen and followed with Udite, Udite, O Rustica from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore which extracted the maximum amount of humour from the aria.”     …

Review by John Quinn, SeenandHeard:

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…     “Finally, Nelsons and his orchestra came into their own with the Second Suite from Daphnis et Chloé – another timely selection since this piece was played at the inaugural concert in Symphony Hall in April 1991 and, moreover, the Ballets Russes première was given on 8 June 1912. This was, quite simply, the performance of the evening. ‘Dawn’ was superb. The shimmering start was magically balanced by Nelsons. We heard chattering birds depicted by the CBSO woodwind section and voluptuous washes of orchestral colour, everything expertly controlled by the players and from the rostrum. When it came, the Daybreak was overwhelming, the CBSO Chorus showing why you can only do this music full justice in a performance that includes the choral parts. Nelsons held back the release of this climax in a masterly fashion to enhance its impact. The central ‘Pantomime’ was dominated by the superlative flute playing of Marie-Christine Zupancic, but if her virtuosity stood out due to the prominence of the flute part it was complemented by that of many of her colleagues in a dexterous and subtle performance of this ravishing but technically demanding music. The concluding ‘Danse Genérale’ was thrilling. Nelsons galvanised his players – and singers – into a virtuoso account of Ravel’s tumultuous, hedonistic music. In a few days time one of Nelson’s predecessors, Sir Simon Rattle, brings the Vienna Philharmonic to Symphony Hall. On this showing – which we know is far from untypical – the CBSO has little to fear from any comparisons.”     …

Review by Rian Evans, ClassicalSource:

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…     “The Ravel was the outstanding performance. Nelsons realised everything that is sensuous and lushly expansive in the score, while bringing an exquisite poise to the subtleties of Ravel’s orchestral palette and a lilting insouciance to the dance elements. The CBSO came into its own. Conductors and soloists were presented with bouquets, so metaphorical ones now to the flute section: to Marie-Christine Zupancic for her stunning solo, Andrew Lane for his piccolo playing, CBSO stalwart Colin Lilley for his alto flute solo, and not forgetting Elizabeth May. That their lines emerged with such vibrancy should also be a tribute to that Symphony Hall acoustic.”

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

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…    If Symphony Hall doesn’t have its music makers, then who has? And ‘Music Makers’ was the main work in the CBSO’s first concert in the newly-refurbished Town Hall, elderly sister to the blushing young Symphony Hall.

Simon Halsey conducted, drawing from his world-class CBSO Chorus diction of consummate clarity and well-weighted tonal balance, and, often concentrating on the orchestra (the Chorus had already been well-trained beyond concern), revealing wonderful detail and securing flowing, often surprisingly swift, and appropriate tempi.

Christine Rice was the mezzo soloist, her tones warm and compassionate, her lower registers conveying rocklike solidity, her emotional involvement total.”     …


Review by Katherine Dixson, Bachtrack:

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…     “The second half began with the audience exploding into applause once a certain larger-than-life Welshman set foot on – no, took possession of – the stage. Bryn Terfel’s programme was perfectly judged, with fun, laughter, flirtatiousness, intrigue, menace and drama, as well as a sense of place with a sequence of British folk songs. The power of his voice and command of the music was a given, but what I hadn’t bargained for was the sheer force of his personality. His rapport with the audience was phenomenal, with eye contact, gesture and overwhelming warmth. Clearly, he enjoyed working with the other performers, and a lovely detail at the end of the Toreador’s Song was his saluting the men’s chorus by the flick of an imaginary matador’s cape. Bryn and Andris struck up quite a partnership in the aria ‘Udite, udite’ from L’elisir d’amore. ‘Dr Dulcamara’ brought on an innocuous bottle of beer which he playfully discarded near the conductor’s feet, only to bring out a fearsome brew from his back pocket. With apparently effortless ease the tongue-twisting catalogue of ailments was dispatched, upon which the serious bottle was cracked open and downed in one, Andris watching intently (thirstily?) and directing the orchestra to sustain the note until the last drop . A pantomime drunken high five between soloist and conductor added to the general glee. ”     …