sun 18/08/2019

Birmingham

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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St Matthew Passion, Ex Cathedra, Skidmore, Symphony Hall Birmingham - powerful, poignant Bach

For the final instalment of their three Matthew Passions this Holy Week, Ex Cathedra gave a large scale performance of Bach’s oratorio in their home town on Birmingham, after dates with lesser forces in London and Bristol. With an augmented...

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Franco Fagioli, Il Pomo d’Oro, Birmingham Town Hall review - flair and flamboyance

For the final, and only UK, date of his Vinci Arias tour, virtuoso countertenor Franco Fagioli gave an animated and arresting recital of baroque arias at Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday afternoon with the Italian period instrument group Il pomo d’oro...

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Birmingham Opera Company review - searing music-theatre for all

A rum cove sidles up pimping with a tatty business card offering the services of Sonyetka. Not for me, I say, pointing out that in any case she’ll be dead three hours later. "That's more than I know," he says and wanders off to hook other possible...

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Ek, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - epics of sea and land

British concert audiences now know and love one great Lithuanian, among the most communicative and individual conductors in the world today (note I don't even need to prefix "conductors" with "women"). On Saturday night, Lithuania's Independence Day...

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