Showing posts from 2016

Birmingham's concert scene has been lit up by Mirga effect by Christopher Morley

Christopher Morley looks back on a spectacular year for classical music in the Midlands. The year just ending began with one spectacular highlight when, after a long and patient search, the CBSO announced the appointment of a new music director in succession to Andris Nelsons. We had first seen the young Lithuanian Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla in action with the CBSO when she conducted an irresistible account of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on July 27, 2015. So excited was the response from players and public alike that a return visit was hastily arranged, and that happened on January 10 this year. This time, in a programme which included the Schumann Piano Concerto and Sibelius’ Four Lemminkainen Legends, the stand-out performance was of Debussy’s Prelude A l’Apres-midi d’Un Faune when, right from Marie-Christine Zupancic’s sultry opening flute solo, we knew we were in for a very special, deeply sensuous reading of a score which has been overplayed to the point of genteelness. A few day

Mirga Conducts Mahler's First, CBSO, at Birmingham Symphony Hall by Christopher Morley

Never mind the noisy disco mayhem which blocked off the ICC Mall on Wednesday evening; there was Mirga magic galore enthralling a packed CBSO audience within Symphony Hall and a live BBC Radio 3 audience Europe-wide. Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla began her first-ever subscription concert as the orchestra's music director with a work by her Lithuanian compatriot Raminta Serksnyte, her Fires of 2010 receiving its UK premiere. Well-imagined, its tinkling shimmering opening (a subconscious link to the Mahler which we were to hear later?) building tense mystery through a sustained crescendo to a Dante-esque onslaught. This is a surely-constructed purposeful score, deservedly in succession to the tone-poems of Serksnyte's great Baltic predecessor Sibelius, and Mirga unfolded it with a sure, steady beat. A more obvious link to the culminatory Mahler was Haydn's Symphony no.6 "Le Matin", with its dawn-stirring opening. Mirga deployed a surprisingly large CBSO string secti