sat 10/12/2016

Birmingham

CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Is there anything on a concert programme more guaranteed to make the heart lift – or to prove that a conductor has their musical priorities straight – than a Haydn symphony? If you're tired of Haydn, you're tired of life: there’s no music more...

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Trevigne, CBSO, Chauhan, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Bruckner’s Third Symphony doesn’t so much begin as become audible. A steady heartbeat in the bass, oscillating violas lit from within by clarinets, and in the middle, slowly pulling clear of the texture, the proud, sombre trumpet motif to which...

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Falstaff, CBSO, Gardner, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Edward Gardner gives the downbeat, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra bursts into Verdi’s great opening guffaw. Enter stage left Graham Clark, as Dr Caius. Enter stage right Ambrogio Maestri, as Falstaff. And before a note has been sung,...

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The Beggar's Opera, University of Birmingham

Memo to self: never read the director’s programme essay. Jacob Dorrell, director of the University of Birmingham’s summer production of Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera at the Barber Institute, explains: “I wanted to bring to the Barber stage a...

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CD: Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room

It’s not that there’s anything lacking in the writing quality on Ms Mvula’s second album (or third if you include her powerful orchestral revisiting of Sing To The Moon), it’s just that its overall effect becomes a little wearying after a while. It’...

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Betroffenheit, Sadler's Wells/Ballet BC, Birmingham Hippodrome

I could tell you what the German word "Betroffenheit" means by giving a dictionary definition, etymology and connotations and so on. But I won't, because this dance-drama hybrid by Jonathan Young and Crystal Pite is precisely not about pinning down...

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CBSO, McGegan, Symphony Hall Birmingham

“Our Shakespeare” is the name of the CBSO’s current season. They're making the same point that Ben Elton makes slightly less subtly in Upstart Crow: that Shakespeare was basically a Brummie. And by implication, that four centuries of musical...

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BCMG, Galbreath, Adrian Boult Hall Birmingham

So this is the end of the Adrian Boult Hall, due to be demolished in a matter of weeks. And to be honest, all but the most nostalgic of Birmingham concertgoers will find it hard to mourn. It’s no architectural masterpiece – nothing like John Madin’s...

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Lill, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, Kogan, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Behemoth Dances. Who dances? You know, Behemoth, the huge demonic black cat who cakewalks through Stalin’s Moscow in Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita spreading mayhem and magic; the spirit – as quoted by Bulgakov, and taken by Stephen Johnson as...

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Coote, CBSO, Wilson, Symphony Hall Birmingham

Can it be true? Was this really the CBSO’s first performance of Bax’s The Garden of Fand? OK, Bax is hardly mainstream repertoire, and if Oramo or Rattle had conducted it, someone would have remembered. Further back in the orchestra’s 96-year...

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Peaky Blinders, Series 3, BBC Two

Sometimes compared to Boardwalk Empire or The Wire, and raved over by the likes of Brad Pitt, Snoop Dogg and even Jose Mourinho, Peaky Blinders opened its third series by becoming positively Godfather-esque. Writer Steven Knight whisked us away from...

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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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