Daniel Hope Celebrates…

… Yehudi Menuhin’s Centenary

Town Hall, Birmingham

Wednesday 18th May, 2016, 7:30pm

Orchestra l’arte del Mondo

Daniel Hope – violin

Mozart Divertimento KV 136
Vivaldi Concerto for 2 violins 10’
Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor 22’
Mozart Divertimento KV 138
Pärt Darf Ich (version without bells) 3’
El-Khoury Unfinished Journey
Bach Concerto for 2 violins 17’

Encore with orchestra – Max Richter – Vivaldi Recomposed, Summer Third Movement

Daniel Hope’s encore – Johann Paul von Westhoff – Imitazione delle Campane

Please note the Kammerorchester Basel will no longer be playing in this concert, and Orchestra l’arte del Mondo will be performing with Daniel Hope. Please also note some changes to the programme. Customers will be contacted in January. Updated 18/12/15.

British violinist Daniel Hope isn’t one to hold back. In the year that Yehudi Menuhin would have turned 100, Hope leads performances of music intimately connected with his great teacher, from Bach to Bechara El-Khoury. Keep an open mind, and you’ll hear wonders.

6.15pm Pre-concert conversation with Daniel Hope.
This conversation will be signed by a British Sign Language interpreter

 

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Review by Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Daniel Hope plays the violin in a business suit and tie. But there’s nothing strait-laced about his platform manner. He bobs, he bounces, he bends almost double – turning round to face the members of the L’Arte del Mondo orchestra, nodding, and all the while spinning a rich, glittering stream of notes. He reminded me of someone and when, as an encore, he launched into a funkily re-composed version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons it clicked: Nigel Kennedy. Since both were once protégés of Yehudi Menuhin, maybe that’s not entirely coincidental.

In fact, the whole programme was chosen as a 100th birthday tribute to the late Lord Menuhin. L’Arte del Mondo are a spirited bunch who play standing up and make a beefy, buoyant sound despite their sparing use of vibrato. No ‘historically informed’ self-denial here, despite the token harpsichord. Two of Mozart’s early Salzburg divertimentos, directed by L’Arte del Mondo’s leader Werner Ehrhardt, sang and danced as boisterously as if they’d been played by a full symphonic string section rather than just 14 players.”     …

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Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard, MusicWeb:

Click here for full review

…     “However there nothing lacklustre about the Vivaldi that followed, his Concerto for two violins in A minor. A common wavelength between Hope and co-soloist Andrea Keller (sub-leader of L’arte del mondo) was instantly established, a togetherness shared by the whole group. As Ehrhardt came more into prominence in the third Allegro movement of RV 522, the interaction and buzz between the three was exhilarating. The third item, like all of them in the programme directly linked to Menuhin, was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, brought to Menuhin’s attention in 1951 and recorded by him the following year. Written when Mendelssohn was only thirteen, it naturally does not have the widespread appeal of the E Minor, but is nevertheless of great academic interest. Very much about the soloist, Hope gave an assured performance, displaying the beautiful tone of his Guarneri in the andante and a sparkling gypsy-style kick to the closing allegro.

After the interval, a second Mozart divertimento KV 138, re-opened proceedings. The first (Allegro) movement reminded me of Bach’s Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K525a little anyway; the violas of Antje Sabinski and Rafael Roth in the (Presto) third movement demanded my attention. Next came the other side of Menuhin with Arvo Pärt’s Darf ich … (Can I… ). Without the bells, surely much of its tintinnabulation style is lost (despite the assurances in the programme notes). When Menuhin first received the piece, he asked the composer ‘Can I what?’ to which the reply came, ‘That’s for you say!’ Although only three minutes long, my answer was ‘… Empathise with you!’ An example of ‘East meets West’ followed: the Lebanese composer Bechara El-Khoury’s Unfinished Journey (the title of Menuhin’s autobiography) commissioned by Hope and the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in 2009 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Menuhin’s death. I found it utterly captivating, with Hope’s beautiful phrasing frustratingly underdeveloped at times – but symbolic of the title. There was also a sensation of expectation from the chattering tremolo string accompaniment, a feeling underpinned by the haunting perceptions of the closing muted bars. There are many iconic recordings by Menuhin and his pairing with David Oistrakh for the Bach Double Concerto for two violins in D minor, BWV 1043 is one of the most popular; this work closed the scheduled programme. Once more Keller partnered Hope; there were fireworks but I thought there might have been a few more of them, their rendition being more memorable for its adroit handling of the tempo changes.”     …

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Review by Rebecca Franks, The Times (££):

Click here for full review (££)

…     “He was an inspiring force throughout: dancing on tiptoe, engaging with the cellos one moment, spinning round to the leader the next. For the double concertos, Andrea Keller stepped out of the orchestra to take a solo spot. In Vivaldi’s A minor Concerto (from L’estro armonico) her sylph-like sound made an appealing contrast to Hope’s sweetness and bite. Less so, sadly, in the Bach D minor Concerto, in which poor tuning curdled the sound. Hope held steady against rocky ensemble in a gutsy Mendelssohn D minor Concerto and shone with bright purity in Pärt and El-Khoury. L’arte del mondo alone played two Mozart Divertimenti, with silvery grace in the D major K136 and heartier tone in the F major K138.”     …

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A to Z of the CBSO

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Saturday 19th September, 7.00pm

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Featuring

  • Vivaldi Four Seasons (excerpt)
  • Zimmer Pirates of the Carribean
  • Williams – Star Wars = encore

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Put 90 top-flight musicians on one stage, and there’s no limit to what they can do. Three centuries in the making, the symphony orchestra is still the ultimate piece of music technology: at home in the concert hall or the movie studio, and capable of summoning up over 300 years of music in breathtaking live sound. Tonight, Michael Seal and the full CBSO walk you through an A to Z of the orchestra: with music ranging from Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine to Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean!

If you’re not sure where to begin with the CBSO, come along for just a tenner to find out more. And if you’re a regular – why not bring a friend to introduce them?

Europa Galante performs Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 Concert Package, SoundBite, Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15, Orchestral Music and Early Music

Thursday 19th February

Town Hall

Europa Galante
Fabio Biondi violin/director
Vivica Genaux mezzo soprano

Vivaldi Sinfonia from Ercole sul Termodonte 4’
Stabat Mater 20’
Alma opressa from La fida ninfa 5’
Agitata da due venti from l’Adelaide 6’
Four Seasons 43’

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons need no introduction; but however well you know these best-loved of baroque concertos, nothing quite prepares you for the ‘wonderful esprit, bravura and finesse’ (BBC Music Magazine) that Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante bring to the music of their great compatriot. To hear the incomparable Vivica Genaux in Vivaldi’s haunting Stabat Mater is a glorious bonus.

Classic FM’s John Suchet says:

Truly one of the great Baroque composers, Vivaldi produced an enormous body of work, some of which has become the most famous in classical music history. I urge you to watch this performance of some of the prolific composer’s most important works, performed by an expert band.

www.thsh.co.uk

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Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb, SeenandHeard:

Click here for full review

…     “With such an exhilarating first half it would have been easy for the second period to have been an anti-climax, but the Europa Galante players ensured the excitement remained at fever pitch with a blitzkrieg of an engagement with Le quattro stagione. It had an element of the wild and untamed, a presentation that made it difficult to stay still in your seat. This was programme music of the highest calibre, each of the four seasons having been associated by Vivaldi to a sonnet describing how nature changes her coat. Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, La primavera (Spring) started peaceful enough, but as nature took a hold in the first Allegro movement, there was a magnificently symbolic representation of nature bursting forth – the nimble fingers of Fabio Biondi representative of new life emerging from the ravages of hibernation, the double bass seemingly wanting to quell such an affront. The second Largo movement had spring on hold, Biondi and the pizzicato of the first viola consolidating the green shoots, time as the sonnet relayed for the shepherd to take a nap before the next push. The third Allegro movement had the Europa Galante players giving thanks in celebratory style with a major contribution from the three first violins.

 Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, L’estate (Summer) began in lethargic mood (Allegro non molto) with some sumptuously mellow harmony, befitting the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer, birds singing and soft winds blowing. The anticipated storm worries our shepherd in the Adagio: a virtuosic solo allowed Biondi to paint a graphic picture of both the blessed blossom and the troublesome insects. But stemming from the oppressive heat, temperatures on both stage and auditorium were raised by the fiery tempo of the Presto, energy and passion unbounded in the violence of the storm. Although the resident orchestra of the Fondadzione Teatro Due in Parma must have played the work a hundred times, it still sounded fresh as their obvious enthusiasm had not dimmed.

 Having stood up to the battering of the first two concerti, the strings of Biondi’s Guarneri were subjected to more punishment in Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, L’autunno (Autumn). The ever-so-familiar opening Allegro strains led into an attention-grabbing conversation between the breaks of Biondi and the remaining erectile violinists arranged around their leader. But there was nothing casual about it as both the theorbo of Giangiacomo Pinardi and the harpsichord of Paola Poncet made forceful expletives. In the Adagio molto Poncet did have her moment, suggesting an autumnal feel, heralding a distinct change in the air. The strings caught the mood and echoed it with feeling, shades of mists and mellow fruitfulness. However Vivaldi had other ideas and indications of an Indian summer emerged in the third Allegro section before the final strains indicated a ‘going to sleep’. No wonder the instrumentalists checked their tuning at this point!

 And when winter comes in Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, L’inverno (Winter) there was a grimness to Europa Galante’s Allegro non molto tone, interspersed with more dynamic finger and bow movement from Biondi. Indeed Biondi was rarely static throughout the four concerti (reminding me of the legendary Stefan Grapelli) yet showing little evidence of fatigue. An interesting application of double stopping built the tension to the closing repeat of the main theme. The Largo was another example of Vivaldi’s penchant for recycling a good tune (this one having been borrowed by Hayley Westenra in her River of Dreams) although with Biondi’s players there is always something new to hear, notably in this instance some musical gymnastics on the cello; together with the pizzicato on the strings it reminded me of a steam train about to set off, with the pure pitch of Biondi’s solo both driver and station master. The third Allegro phase of winter, part recapitulation, part reflective, proved how adept Biondi’s technique is at manoeuvring between Vivaldi’s hemi- demi-semi-quavers (even quicker than Genaux, and that’s saying something). The whole was true to Vivaldi’s intention to compose a work that was a contest between harmony and invention – a concert to remain in the memory for a very long time!”

Scholl and the Academy of Ancient Music

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Wednesday 29th January

Town Hall

Academy of Ancient Music

Andreas Scholl countertenor/director

Klara Ek soprano

Vivaldi Stabat Mater 20’
van Wassenaer Concerto Armonico No 2 10’
Vivaldi Salve Regina 16
van Wassenaer Concerto Armonico No 3 9’
Pergolesi Stabat Mater 41’

‘The most important thing is the message of the music’ says Andreas Scholl. ‘Without soul and spirit, the music just doesn’t sound.’ Town Hall audiences already know just how intensely Germany’s leading countertenor lives those words; this concert finds him both directing the Academy of Ancient Music in two dazzling instrumental concertos – and letting his voice and spirit soar in three of the eighteenth century’s most expressive sacred masterpieces.     www.thsh.co.uk

Nicola Benedetti Plays Concertos for Christmas

Part of Christmas 2012 at THSH… more events…

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Part of Entertaining Erdington… more events…

Sunday 9th December, 3pm

Town Hall

European Union Chamber Orchestra
Nicola Benedetti violin
Leonard Elschenbroich cello

Corelli Concerto Grosso in G minor, Christmas Concerto 15’
Vivaldi Cello Concerto in G minor RV 416 10’
Manfredini Concerto Grosso in F, Christmas Concerto 10’
Vivaldi Concerto for Violin & Cello in F RV 544 10’
Torelli Concerto in G minor, Christmas Concerto 10’
Handel Pastoral Symphony from Messiah 3’
Vivaldi Autumn and Winter from The Four Seasons 17’

Nicola Benedetti has established herself as one of the most charismatic of young performers: an international superstar with a major record contract and ‘the complete assurance of a mature soloist’ (The Independent). Together with the European Union Chamber Orchestra, she performs an exuberant baroque programme featuring delightful seasonal highlights: the peacefully pastoral Christmas Concertos of Corelli and his contemporaries, and Vivaldi’s popular Winter from The Four Seasons.

www.thsh.co.uk

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Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Benedetti then returned to round off the afternoon with two of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Autumn and Winter. Her understanding and production of the pieces was impressive – you couldn’t help but wish she had time to add in Spring and Summer.

She bowed to the audience’s wishes for a short encore but returned to the Vivaldi, repeating an excerpt from Winter already played. Fair enough it was lovely but it was also a missed opportunity to dazzle the audience with a different piece of music.”     …

 

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Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Benedetti’s regular chamber music partner Leonard Elschenbroich presented our first Vivaldi of the day, the Cello Concerto in G minor, with beautiful tone and virtuosity. With delicate orchestral backing, Elschenbroich executed ascending and descending scales galore, fast and furious in the Allegro then controlled and lament-like in the Largo. Following the EUCO’s pretty rendition of Manfredini’s Christmas Concerto, Benedetti and Elschenbroich duetted in Vivaldi’s Concerto for violin and cello in F major, which has a subtitle that translates as “The world turned upside-down”. The composer had played a joke on his soloists by writing their parts in the wrong clef, but due to his skilful composition it was possible to swap parts; then, with a quick shift in pitch, it would work. Sounds a bit complicated to me, but there were certainly no issues this afternoon, just plenty of energy and verve, with the violin and cello interweaving and echoing, and extra texture added by the orchestra. The final Allegro clearly gave lots of scope for the soloists to show off, bringing the first half to a suitably upbeat conclusion.”     …

The Infernal Comedy

Starring John Malkovich

Confessions of a Serial Killer

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Saturday 26th May 2012

Symphony Hall

Written by Michael Sturminger
Based on an idea by Birgit Hutter and Martin Haselböck
Music concept and conductor Martin Haselböck
Stage director Michael Sturminger
Costume designer Birgit Hutter
Wiener Akademie
Martin Haselböck conductor
John Malkovich actor
Louise Fribo soprano
Marie Arnet soprano

Music includes:

Vivaldi Aria Sposa son disprezzata  
Beethoven Scene and Aria Ah, perfido  
Haydn Scena di Berenice  
Weber Scene and Aria Ah se Edmundo fosse l’uccisor!  
Mozart Recitative, Aria and Cavatina Ah, lo previdi  

The running time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval.
Supported by Birmingham Repertory Theatre

John Malkovich stars in a stage play for baroque orchestra, singers and actor, based on the real-life story of convicted serial killer Jack Unterweger. Malkovich’s monologues journey through the life and mind of this notorious Viennese womaniser, writer and murderer, illustrated with music embodying joy, hatred, love, grief, and desire. Sometimes darkly comic, sometimes bleakly brutal, it’s a fascinating, provocative and sometimes controversial insight into the twisted mind of, as Malkovich says, “a bad, bad guy.”        www.thsh.co.uk

Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Malkovich is the perfect actor for the part of Unterweger blending charm and charisma with calculation and a chilling disregard for the hopes, dreams and lives of others. It is a difficult role but one he carries off incredibly convincingly.”

Article by Marion McMullen, Birmingham Mail:

Click here for full article

…     “The 58-year-old actor started his performance by striding onto the stage and announcing – in a strong Austrian accent – “Hi, we’re at the Symphony Hall.. not the Hippodrome.”

He also dropped in references to Villa Park and even left the stage to walk down the aisles and sit among the audience in his guise as the charming and chilling killer Jack.”     …

 

Blog post by EnglishChouChou:

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Handel from Il Giardino Armonico

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Thu 19 May 7:30pm at Town Hall

Il Giardino Armonico
Giovanni Antonini director

Handel Concerto Grosso Op 6, No 1 12’
Vivaldi Concerto in F for Strings and Recorder, La Tempesta Di Mare 7’
Handel Concerto Grosso Op 6, No 12 11’
Handel Concerto Grosso Op 6, No 6 15’
Geminiani Concerto Grosso Op 5, No 12, La Follia 11’
Handel Concerto Grosso Op 6, No 7 11’

‘As Italian as the music itself’, wrote Gramophone of Il Giardino Armonico, ‘brightly coloured, individualistic, confident, stylish, arrestingly decorated, bubbling with enthusiasm.’ They are one of Europe’s leading Baroque ensembles, at the top of their game, their revelatory performances packed with freshness and pizzazz. Their Town Hall concert includes the sparkling Concerti Grossi of Handel and music by his Italian contemporaries. www.thsh.co.uk

Click here to see a promotional video of Il Giardino Armonico and Handel 12 Concerti grossi, op.6