Tchaikovsky’s Fifth

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Wednesday 25th May, 2016, 7:30pm

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


  • Tchaikovsky  The Tempest , 21′
  • Glazunov  Violin Concerto , 20′
  • Tchaikovsky  Symphony No. 5, 48′

Something incredible happens when a Russian maestro conducts Russian music; and former Bolshoi music director Alexander Vedernikov has Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony in his blood. Expect grand passions, tender moments, and melody after wondrous melody in a concert that features a rare performance of the luscious violin concerto by the “Russian Mendelssohn” Alexander Glazunov – plus Tchaikovsky’s gloriously uninhibited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.


Review by Clive Peacock, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “The recurring main theme, which links the four movements, sometimes dubbed the ‘fate theme’, offered Oliver Jones’ the opportunity to open the movement with beautiful clarinet playing, echoed by Joshua Wilson’s delightful bassoon efforts. Both returned towards the end of the movement in the most dramatic form. This gives way to one of Tchaikovsy’s most beloved themes, a poignant and seductive horn melody led by Elspeth Dutch before a dramatic interruption from Matthew Hardy’s fierce timpani playing, something he also achieved at the beginning of the evening during Tchaikovsky’s The Tempest

During an evening of huge plusses with outstanding individual performances, the CBSO was well led by Zoe Beyers, firmly established as a very successful leader of the orchestra. With a Russian conductor, Alexander Vedernikov, very much at home with an all-Russian programme, the strong CBSO audience following was in for a treat. It is a sheer joy to listen to – and watch – the crisp pizzicato playing of the cello desks and those of the double basses.

Dance-like themes open the minor key third movement – probably his fateful theme seeking happiness. Vedernikov showed his supreme confidence in the CBSO’s capability, allowing Beyers to lead the playful runs in the strings before taking back the leadership for the furiously driven fourth movement with the many delicate shaded woodwind passages acknowledged with nods of approval by a very pleased conductor. He deliberately sought the hands of the several brass, wind and string players at the end of a superb performance.”     …


Tasmin Little Plays Beethoven

Wednesday 18 April 2012 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Michael Seal conductor
Tasmin Little violin

Beethoven: Fidelio – Overture 6′
Beethoven: Violin Concerto 42′ Listen on Spotify
Nielsen: Paraphrase on ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ 6′
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 (Inextinguishable) 36′

“Music is life,” declared Carl Nielsen, “and like it, inextinguishable!”And then, in the middle of the Great War, he proved it with a symphony that from volcanic opening to unstoppable finish, leaves you thrilled to be alive. It’s a long way from the serene open spaces of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, but CBSO associate conductor Michael Seal adores both composers, and soloist Tasmin Little gives everything she touches a special panache. Beethoven’s Fidelio launches the evening in heroic style, and as part of our celebration of the year 1912, discover Nielsen’s extraordinary tribute to the sinking of the “Titanic” – 85 years before Celine Dion!

If you like this concert, you might also like:
Once Upon A Time…, Wednesday 9 & Thursday 10 May
Summer Serenade, Thursday 28 June

Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Some might have been anticipating a virtuoso display, but Little shunned muscular heroics – or made them so effortless as to appear non existent – to focus on Beethoven the poet. Her ruminative and often daringly quiet playing brought a songs-without-words lyricism and sweetness to the melodies, and gave even the most workmanlike passagework a tensile sense of purpose. Such an intimate, ensemble approach clearly found favour with Seal and his equally sympathetic colleagues, who responded with wonderful sensitivity.”     …