Haydn and Mozart

ThumbnailRelax and Revitalise

Wednesday 14 May 2014 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Margaret Cookhorn  contrabassoon
Rainer Gibbons  oboe

Haydn: Symphony No. 101 (The Clock) 27′
Listen on Spotify
Watch on YouTube

Mozart: Oboe Concerto 22′
Woolrich: Falling Down (The Grimmitt Trust Anniversary Commission: world premiere) 15′
Haydn: Symphony No. 102 23′
Listen on Spotify
Watch on YouTube

Andris Nelsons gets us smiling with two of the deliciously witty symphonies Haydn wrote specially for British audiences, and then throws in a very special bonus: the fantastically inventive concerto that John Woolrich wrote specially for the CBSO’s contrabassoonist, Margaret Cookhorn.

If you like this concert, you might also like:
Andris and Håkan in Concert, Wednesday 28th May and/or Thursday 29th May (-Haydn)
Summer Serenade, Thursday 5th June



Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

Click here for full review

…     “It was in the nickname-less 102nd that he really took charge, giving the first movement a Beethovenian fierceness, finding real pathos in the elegiac slow movement, with its solo cello threading through the textures. He delivered the symphony’s teasing final pages with perfect deadpan timing.

In between came two wind concertos. The CBSO’s principal oboe Rainer Gibbons was the elegant, understated soloist in, K314, the C major concerto that Mozart wrote for his instrument, while the orchestra’s contrabassoonist, Margaret Cookhorn, had a new work commissioned for her. John Woolrich describes his Falling Down as a “dark capriccio with lyrical moments”; the orchestra regularly tumbles down to the depths the solo instrument haunts, while dark-hued instruments – tuba, bass trombone, bass clarinet, cor anglais – mirror its sound-world. A battery of percussion, including two sets of timpani, emphasise the general unease. It’s a very skilful quarter-hour party piece for an instrument that doesn’t normally get out much, and Cookhorn made the most of it.”



Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

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…     “A rare pleasure to hear two Haydn symphonies in an evening: rarer still to be able to repeat the experience at the next day’s matinee concert.

It was also a valuable listening exercise. Not that the performances of No.101 (The Clock) and No.102 differed from one day to the next, no reason they should. However, a second hearing provided an opportunity to appreciate the CBSO’s assured playing and Andris Nelsons’ occasionally revelatory conducting. On first hearing them it appeared that Nelsons, unlike Sir Simon Rattle, is not an instinctive Haydn conductor.

For example, the dynamic extremes he brought to 101’s opening movement and the sudden forceful accents, applied with a jab from Nelsons’ baton, seemed too calculated, an instance of conducting micro-management: nuance of the sake of nuance. A second hearing revealed that this was not the case: the subtleties are all Haydn’s and Nelsons was happy to reveal their wonders with the illumination provided by playing of wit and delicacy from the CBSO.

The switch from minor key foreboding to D major sunlight was done with dazzling sleight of hand and the andante’s tick-tock transformations were delightful. Contrast was high because the darker hues were always given their due as in 102’s sombre adagio, led by Eduardo Vassallo’s soulful cello.”     …


Autumn Contrasts

Wednesday 7 November 2012 at 2.15pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0603

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Manze conductor
Rainer Gibbons oboe

Mozart: Symphony No. 25 26′
Vaughan Williams: Oboe Concerto 19′ Listen on Spotify
Schumann: Symphony No. 2 34′ Listen on Spotify

Engaging, inspired and endlessly lively, Andrew Manze is quickly making a name as one of the most charismatic conductors around – and a firm favourite with musicians and audiences alike. Here he brings his famous verve to bear on Mozart’s explosive youthful masterpiece, before sharing two very personal musical passions: Schumann’s gloriously romantic Second Symphony, and Vaughan Williams’s radiant, serenely lyrical Oboe Concerto played by the CBSO’s own Rainer Gibbons. It could quite possibly be the loveliest piece of English music you’ve never heard. www.cbso.co.uk


Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…    “Vaughan Williams’ oboe concerto received its first CBSO performance for more than 30 years – and it’ll probably be another 30 before it’s heard again.

Rainer Gibbons was the eloquent soloist, nimble and neat in the scampering minuet and spinning some elegant lines in the finale.     […]

[…]     Schumann’s Second Symphony is a marvellous work but must be a conductor’s nightmare. In the opening movement the wind section could have been miming for much of the time as they were overwhelmed by brass and strings. Not Manze’s fault, just Schumann’s turgid orchestration. The scherzo was brilliant as was the finale with Manze unleashing the brass and timpani to great effect. The slow movement is the symphony’s madwoman-in-the-attic: woodwind wailing like a lost soul and shivering tremolo strings chilling the heart.”   …

The Pathétique

Wednesday 2 June 2010 at 7.30pm

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

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Rainer Gibbons  oboe

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky: The Voyevoda 14′
Strauss: Oboe Concerto 26′
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique) 45′ Listen
requires Real Player

There’s really nothing in all music quite like Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony. Tchaikovsky threw his all into this no-holds-barred musical autobiography; the result is a symphony that blends raw emotion and glorious melody to devastating effect. It’s gripping stuff – Andris Nelsons has it in his blood. And if you saw him conducting Tchaikovsky last season, you won’t need any further recommendation. Meanwhile, the CBSO’s wonderful section leader oboe offers a moment of tranquillity with Strauss’s gentle concerto. www.cbso.co.uk

pre-concert talk at 6.15pm
The Players’ Perspective – The Pathétique
Violinist David Gregory, and CBSO colleagues, explore Tchaikovsky’s final symphony.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:


…..”Nelsons conjured so much tension and release, brought such a strong operatic approach where necessary and balletic poise, too, and uncovered the work’s true symphonic greatness in a reading which was quite simply the finest I’ve ever heard in the concert-hall (anyone who’s interested, I have an ancient World Record Club LP by the Sinfonia of London under Muir Mathieson which wrings out even more emotion).

The way Nelsons effected the transition between the hell-for-leather desperation of the scherzo and the cataclysm of sorrow which launches the finale was masterly, and the eternity of silence he commanded at the very end before allowing applause to start was a tribute to the receptiveness of this large audience.”