mon 02/05/2016

Birmingham

Tharaud, CBSO, Volkov, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Left, alone, Hans Abrahamsen’s new piano concerto for the left hand, swirls out of the darkness to a jagged motor rhythm. Piano and orchestra clash and interlock; you’re reminded of Prokofiev and Ravel. Then something happens. A piano plays, but the...

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Preview: International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016

International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB) is one of the unsung heroes not just of dance in Britain, but of festivals. It treats anyone within striking distance of the West Midlands to an exciting range of performers and public dance events over...

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Vassallo, CBSO, Chauhan, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Funny thing, musical fashion. Most listeners would call Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances a popular classic – yet before tonight, I doubt they’d had a professional performance in Birmingham this century. Then there’s the case of Osvaldo Golijov. Remember...

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Feldman and Cage, Cross-Currents Festival, Birmingham

One strain of American music sprang up one evening early in 1950 from a chance encounter at Carnegie Hall, where the New York Philharmonic had played Webern’s Symphony to an audience of all-too-predictably restless patrons. Both bewitched by the...

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White smoke at the CBSO: Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla for Music Director

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's appointment of the Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla as its new Music Director won’t have surprised many concertgoers in Birmingham – or indeed regular readers of theartsdesk. The post has been...

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Rana, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham

As pianist Beatrice Rana ran up the final bars of Schumann’s Piano Concerto, the conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla turned to her soloist and simply beamed. As well she might. Rana is an artist whose advance publicity belies the seriousness and...

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Ex Cathedra, St Paul's Church Birmingham

Is it possible for a carol concert to have a cult following? Ex Cathedra's annual Christmas Music by Candlelight performances in St Paul’s Church have quietly grown into a Birmingham institution. The audience has evolved its own rituals: camping out...

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Sudbin, CBSO, Seal, Symphony Hall Birmingham

You can read a lot into the first two chords of Beethoven’s "Eroica" Symphony. Classical portico or violent detonation? Majestic assertion of E flat major, or the first shocking glimpse of a drama that’s already under way? Michael Seal, conducting...

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BCMG, Knussen, CBSO Centre Birmingham

“The first section, following a short introduction, places a rhythmic sequence on its retrograde. The two layers are transposed independently (one going up, the other down) as the music progresses, and points of symmetry are highlighted when they...

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Skride, CBSO, Wellber, Symphony Hall Birmingham

If Omer Meir Wellber is making a bid for Andris Nelsons’s old music directorship in Birmingham, he could hardly have signalled his intentions more audaciously. This concert began with Wagner’s Lohengrin Prelude and ended with Brahms’s First Symphony...

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Tchaikovsky Competition Winners Tour

For a few very lucky competition winners there is a shopping trip where they are paraded around the world. A terrific opportunity, though a horrible experience, probably. Most competition winners have only a new line in their CV to stare at after...

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The Lemonheads, Institute, Birmingham

It has been three years since The Lemonheads, Evan Dando’s slacker kings, last toured the UK and six years since they released Varshons, a covers album. So it was a pleasant surprise when they recently announced a return to these shores to play...

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