From the Danube to the Rhine


ThumbnailRelax and Revitalise

Thursday 5th February 2015 at 7.30pm

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

Concert Packages

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Kazushi Ono  conductor
Marie-Christine Zupancic  flute

Schubert: Symphony No. 5 26′
Mozart: Flute Concerto No. 2, K. 285d 20′
Schumann: Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish) 31′ Watch on YouTube

Schumann’s “Rhenish” symphony opens in a blaze of glory… and ends at a beer festival! There’s never been a more enjoyable way to experience the Rhineland, and you don’t even have to leave your seat in Symphony Hall! First, though, Franz Schubert raises the curtain with a gentle smile – and the CBSO’s own Marie- Christine Zupancic brings out the light and shade of Mozart’s jewel-like concerto.

The annual Bequest Patrons’ Reception takes place after this concert on 5 February. For information, contact Claire Watts on 0121 616 6533.

Support the CBSO


Review by Hedy Mühleck, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Floating rather than walking, Kazushi Ono swept into the hall and injected this floating quality in the opening movement of Schubert’s Symphony no. 5 in B flat major. The smaller orchestration made for an amazingly transparent soundscape, nicely articulated particularly by the first violins. This transparency and the musicians’ eager compliance with each and every of Ono’s small gestures created flowing and flexible dynamic, but also revealed occasional instances where the second violins appeared to minimally lag behind the first. This, however, was quickly forgotten after the first few notes of the elegiac Andante.     […]

[…]     “Mozart provided the opportunity for a cadenza in each movement, and I was particularly looking forward to these as the soloist who, having grown up in the Lower Rhine area, further added to the evening’s theme, had captured me with her characteristic, silver tone whenever I’d heard the CBSO previously. While I missed her trademark tone, her cadenzas offered exciting pianos in which every note was a self-contained entity, a thin ray of light that grew broader as she played. The first cadenza appeared as a more modern-sounding addition, the second movement cadenza however was of the same confiding nature as preceding solo parts, felt less disjointed and much more an organic part of the movement. The high-spirited, bubbly final movement displayed the same transparent quality as the opening Schubert, with gleaming brass lines over which the first violins cast their notes like a sugar dusting. The third movement cadenza, recapitulating material of the rondo, fitted seamlessly into the movement, giving it a great sense of overall balance.”     …



Review by Sam Chipman, PublicReviews:

Click here for full review

…     “His writing here is actually for an oboe, but was adapted to be performed as a flute concerto. Marie-Christine Zupancic plays with great expression and ability, her cadenzas are suitable stylistic and allow her to show off her virtuosic skills. She is ably accompanied by the CBSO who take delight in the conversation Mozart gives with the soloist. The Allegro is delightfully light and spirited: a true homage to Mozart himself.

“A slice of Rhenish life” is what Schumann called the fourth movement of his Third Symphony, inspired by a visit to Cologne Cathedral and which rounds off the evening. Thrilled by the sights of Dusseldorf after arriving to take up the post of musical director in 1850, the work reflects the beauty of the Rhineland he saw around him; this was before both personal and professional problems arose which resulted in a suicide attempt by drowning in the Rhine in 1854. The Lebhaft is played with triumphant impatience by a larger CBSO orchestra, a vividly bright performance of the great Schumann score. The brass section really grasps the solemn feel of the Feierlich which is played both lyrically and with gravitas, and the final Lebhaft is played with a sense of urgency to bring about the climactic finish.

Kazushi Ono shows his class, as does the CBSO, with this delightful concert. An excellent selection of music to tickle any classic music lovers taste-buds, and played nimbly and with great intelligent awareness by the CBSO, marshalled by Ono – all in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening of music.”

Mozart’s Requiem

Thursday 18 November 2010 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Marie-Christine Zupancic  flute
Sarah-Jane Brandon  soprano
Wendy Dawn Thompson  mezzo
Andrew Kennedy  tenor
Benedict Nelson  bass
CBSO Chorus   

Mozart: Symphony No. 35 (Haffner) 17′
Mozart: Flute Concerto in G major 25′
Mozart: Requiem 50′

The mysterious commission from a masked stranger, Mozart’s deathbed
struggle to complete the score, the rumours of murder… if you’ve seen
Amadeus, you’ll know the legends behind Mozart’s Requiem. But the
reality is even more extraordinary. Hear for yourself, because Andris
Nelsons has assembled some of the freshest and finest new voices on
the concert scene to join him, the CBSO and the acclaimed CBSO
Chorus for a very special performance of Mozart’s sublime final
masterpiece. First, though, we hear from a younger and happier Amadeus,
in two of the sunniest gems from his Salzburg years: the exuberant
Haffner Symphony and the First Flute Concerto, a sparkling showcase
for the CBSO’s popular principal flute, Marie-Christine Zupancic.

Blog post by JanH1:

…”The choir began singing “Requiem” and the gathering volume of some two hundred voices filling all the space in the lofty concert hall was properly spine-tingling; the sort of magnificent din that makes you sigh at the beauty of it and bite your lip to prevent uncontrolled falling of tears.

The massed choir turned the first page of music and, contrasted against their dark suits and black dresses, the sudden flutterings of white looked like the wingbeats of hundreds of white doves.  It was a good omen.” …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

… “And we ended with the sublime Requiem. Never mind scholarly nitpickings about the various completions of this unfinished score from Mozart’s deathbed, we just bathed in the sounds, now consoling, now dramatic, of this unique final testament of a composer taken from us far too young, as unfolded in Nelsons’ swiftly-paced yet loving reading.” …

Rating * * * * *

Review by Rian Evans, ClassicalSource:

… “From the very opening there was a dark, underlying tension which, over the course of the work, periodically erupted with a turbulent intensity. It was not simply a question of the D minor tonality and parallels with the score of “Don Giovanni”: the ‘Dies Irae’ in particular stood out for its almost Verdian passion, with blazing natural trumpets and a kettledrum sound which was both thrilling and terrifying. Satisfying in an altogether different way was Nelsons’s sculpting of the long phrasing – as in the ‘Lachrimosa’ – underlining the intrinsic beauty of Mozart’s cantabile lines, both instrumental and vocal. […]

[…] Marie-Christine Zupancic – CBSO principal flautist – was the highly accomplished and serene soloist in the concerto. Her tone was pure and elegantly expressive throughout her range, with each note – even in the fastest passagework – articulated so as to be meaningful. Zupancic delivered coolly virtuosic cadenzas, but even more striking was the way in which she invested the sections in the minor mode with a heart-wrenching beauty. This depth of feeling in turn allowed the flowing lyricism of the finale to assume added grace. A ‘magic flute’ concerto indeed.”