fri 15/11/2019

Birmingham

Dariescu, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Simonov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Soviet fear and loathing

It remains some of the most terrifying music ever written. Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony - the composer’s portrayal of the fear and anxiety felt under Stalin's regime - is a horrifyingly brutal musical portrayal of life lived under a totalitarian...

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Black Flag, The Mill, Birmingham review – hardcore punk originators come up trumps

Prior to this week, it had been 35 years since hardcore punk firestarters Black Flag had set foot in the UK. That said, it was not without some trepidation that I made my way to one of Birmingham’s more compact venues to see a band who had once been...

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Balsom, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - made in Brum

There’s nothing like practising what you preach. “I say straight out that I regard all so-called 12-tone music, so-called serial music, so-called electronic music and so-called avant-garde music as utter rubbish, and indeed a deliberate conning of...

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Simon Halsey on Tippett’s ‘A Child of Our Time’: ‘the biggest lesson was how to feel what he had written’

I was greatly privileged to know Sir Michael Tippett and to chorus-master his recording of A Child of Our Time. In my childhood, the two giants of English composition were “Tippett and Britten” - in that order. Since their deaths, Britten has...

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Power, politics and Peaky Blinders - the Shelby family return for Series 5

This is how Steven Knight pictured Peaky Blinders when he first set about creating it. “I was very keen not to do a traditional British period drama, especially where it comes to depictions of working class people. Where the impulse is to say ‘it’s...

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Black Sabbath: 50 years, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery review – not heavy going

The well-spring of certain musical genres and hometowns of certain influential musicians have long been a source of civic pride – and a boost to the tourist industry – in many clued-in parts of the world. One only has to think of the co-opting of...

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Supersonic Festival 2019, Birmingham review - the weird and the curious get together

Friday 19 July2019 is a big deal in the Supersonic universe, as it marks the fifteenth time that the Festival has been held in Birmingham – the Home of Metal. So, what better way to celebrate than to kick things off with a double header at the City’...

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Goodyear, Chineke! Orchestra, Marshall, Symphony Hall, Birmingham Review - engaging and uplifting

Having played their first concert just four years ago, the Chineke! Orchestra gave a rousing, exuberant performance for an ensemble still in its infancy. It’s a young orchestra, not just in the sense of only being founded a few years ago, but one...

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Kuusisto, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Birmingham Town Hall review - aural voyage through space

It’s quite a weighty concept, and one which could easily have buckled had both the music and its execution not been of the highest quality. Aurora Orchestra’s "Music of the Spheres" was a concert inspired by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras’s theory...

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CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - joy unbounded

You can tell a lot from the opening of Brahms’s Second Symphony. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra began it – and it’s not the first time they’ve done this in a big German symphony – as if in mid-...

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Benedetti, SCO, Birmingham Town Hall review - a powerful musical alliance

Playing with such energy, such synergy and such general camaraderie at the start of a tour must surely pave the way for even greater things to come. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Nicola Benedetti kicked off their European tour at Birmingham...

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CBSO, Volkov, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - Mahler goes Bauhaus

Just over a decade ago it was predicted by those supposedly in the know that Ilan Volkov would succeed Sakari Oramo as music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In the event, the gig went to Andris Nelsons, and it was probably for...

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