sat 28/05/2022

CBSO

Esfahani, CBSO, Morlot, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - ghostly enchantments

Bent Sørensen has christened his new harpsichord concerto Sei Anime: “six souls”. The six concise movements, written for Mahan Esfahani and a chamber-sized orchestra, are modelled, apparently, on the dance movements of a Bach keyboard suite. But as...

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Dr Semmelweis, Bristol Old Vic review - dazzling but overloaded

Dr Semmelweis, a star vehicle for Mark Rylance, one of Britain’s most versatile and talented actors, fills the Bristol Old Vic with a dizzying kaleidoscope of words, sounds and images. Tom Morris – the theatre’s energetic and inventive director –...

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Feng, CBSO, Wilson, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - effortless expression

As the conductor of English National Opera’s 2018 production of Porgy and Bess, there can’t be many maestros in the UK who can currently match John Wilson’s knowledge of that extraordinary score. And there are surely none who can rival Wilson’s...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - nature, large as life

"Nature is healing," declared the social media meme, back in the early days of lockdown when humanity had temporarily retreated to focus on its banana bread. There were pictures to prove it, apparently. Dolphins sported in the canals of Venice; city...

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CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, BBC Proms review - expectations teased, seldom fulfilled

Nominally, this was a programme of three symphonies. The first, though, sounded like music re-cut and pasted from a very British film and the second was a suite, albeit impressively reworked, from an opera. The real deal, Brahms’s Third, is a very...

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Bostridge, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - large and live

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra believes that its current post-lockdown summer series features the largest orchestra currently performing live in the UK. It’s not an easy claim to verify, and the full string section certainly wasn’t on...

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Kanneh-Mason, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla online review - muted celebrations

“This year was supposed to be so very different” said Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra when he spoke to theartsdesk earlier this year. Talk about an understatement. The CBSO has hardly been alone in...

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CBSO 100th Birthday Celebration online review - top musicians let down by sound and visuals

Let’s start by echoing Simon Rattle’s sense of “how lucky we are”, in our case to be able to share with a 75-piece City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra its centenary to the very day, and celebrate the programme, the performers, the front man too (...

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BCMG, Heinen, Brindleyplace Birmingham review - from the concrete canyons to the stars

Birmingham emerged from musical lockdown with Stockhausen. It couldn’t have been anyone else, really. There’s something about Stockhausen’s fusion of modernity and goofy intergalactic romanticism that clearly strikes a chord in the Second City...

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First Person: CEO Stephen Maddock on the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's strange centenary year

This year was supposed to be so very different. For the best part of the last decade we have been planning a series of major events to take place in 2020 to mark the centenary of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Having often commented on...

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Anderszewski, CBSO, Wellber, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - grandeur in restraint

No orchestra wants its conductor to cancel in the week of a concert. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s illness was announced only on Monday, but even in ideal conditions, if you needed to find a last minute replacement maestro for a programme of Bartók and...

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Frang, CBSO, Yamada, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - the tingle factor

There’s a particular moment of a particular recording – I suppose every slightly over-obsessive record collector has one – that I just keep listening to over and over again. It’s in Fritz Reiner’s 1960 Chicago Symphony recording of Respighi’s The...

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