Spanish Night

ThumbnailCBSO 2020Pure Emotion

Thursday 22nd January 2015 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Josep Pons  conductor
Maria Toledo  singer
Javier Perianes  piano

Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole 15′
Falla: El amor brujo (complete) 40′
Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain 24′
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Ravel: Boléro 15′ Watch on YouTube

“Something more than festivals and dances has inspired these evocations in sound,” said Manuel de Falla, “for melancholy and mystery also have their part.” In the latest instalment of the CBSO:2020 project, two fiercely poetic scores from 1915 reveal the Spain that musical tourists never see – though in the hands of the great Spanish conductor Josep Pons, Ravel’s Boléro will never have sounded more authentic!

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Javier Perianes talks to Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full article

“An all-Spanish programme from the CBSO this week brings probably the greatest work for piano and orchestra ever to emerge from the Iberian peninsula, Manuel de Falla’s moody and evocative Nights in the Gardens of Spain.

The soloist is the exciting young Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, who tells me this is proving a very “British” period for him, beginning with a tour of his home country with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Sakari Oramo.

“It has been a real pleasure, and a great honour, to share the stage with the BBC Symphony and Maestro Oramo once again,” he says.”     …


Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

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…     “Manuel de Falla’s El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) was certainly the real deal in this concert, performed in its original chamber ensemble version with a genuine flamenco singer.

Here, it was the remarkable María Toledo, whose characteristically throaty voice-production and dramatically charged articulation provided such a refreshing change from what we usually hear.

And the direction of Josep Pons, a conductor whose tidy beat encourages rather than dictates what goes on in the ranks, enabled a much reduced CBSO to relish the score’s transparency and its opportunities for individual display, notably in the Pantomime (lovely cello solo from Richard Jenkinson) and Will-o’-the-Wisp numbers.”     …


Review by Sam Chipman, ThePublicReviews:

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…     “Maurice Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole opens the program, a piece showing Ravel’s passion for Spanish music inherited from his mother. A grand scale Orchestra play with great rise and fall under the leadership of conductor Pons, with a very expressive woodwind section adding much to the texture. A suitably poetic atmosphere is created in Prelude a la nuit and the lively Espana is full of life and vigour.

Ravel’s Bolero is a piece recognised in many a British household; largely down to the fact that Torvill and Dean’s gold medal winning performance at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics included a routine to the piece. Ravel, at the time of writing Bolero could not have known how bigger success the one-theme piece would be, but his clever orchestration gives it fire where the lack of melodic development leaves a gap. It has a rather hypnotic feel and proves a fitting finale to the concert with its rowdy, brash ending.

Many will not be as familiar with Manuel De Falla’s work as with that of Ravel. The Love, the Magician suite originated as a Flamenco ballet, and tells the story of a gypsy girl who is haunted by the memory of her dead lover. The songs are powerfully performed by Maria Toledo, described as ‘the Diana Krall of Flamenco’. Her abrasive tones map that of traditional Flamenco singers and her attack of the text adds to the uniqueness of the performance. A smaller orchestra play magnificently in this piece, creating a more intimate chamber feel.”     …

Dancing in the Streets

Tuesday 1 March 2011 at 7.30pm

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

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Carlos Kalmar  conductor
Steven Osborne  piano

Adams: The Chairman Dances 12′
Bernstein: West Side Story – Symphonic Dances 23′
Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain 23′
Gershwin: An American in Paris 17′

From Gershwin tapping through the streets of jazz-age Paris, to John
Adams imagining Mao Zedong and Madame Mao in a show-stopping
foxtrot – there’s no denying that American composers have got rhythm!
South American-born conductor Carlos Kalmar knows all about that,
and tonight he leads the CBSO on a high-kicking celebration of the
American way of dance. Expect some serious Latin flair in Bernstein’s
West Side Story dances, the smokiest of blues in An American in
Paris, and – at the heart of the programme – something completely
different. The superb British pianist Steven Osborne should bring just
the right mixture of poetry and panache to Falla’s enchanted,
shimmering Nights in the Gardens of Spain begun in 1911. 

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

“Anyone who says they “don’t like 20th-century music” should have been at Tuesday’s CBSO concert, from which they would have emerged smiling in acquiescence at its sheer approachability.

This was a programme to die for, beginning with a tautly driven account of John Adams’ The Chairman Dances under the decisive baton of Carlos Kalmar.”   …


Review for this programme at Bridgewater Hall, by Michael Cookson, MusicWeb: