Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra review


Symphony Hall *****
Following on from its recent amazing Rite of Spring, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra gave the CBSO another run for its money with a pre-concert showcase; with the eyes closed one could imagine we were hearing this world-class orchestra itself.
And this can partly be attributed to the kind of training intrinsic to authentic Conservatoires, musicians from the local resident orchestra passing on their skills to willing students (Mendelssohn in Leipzig nearly two centuries ago has so much to be thanked for), as well as to the fact that the inspirational conductor here, Michael Seal, is both a product of the Conservatoire himself, and was for many years a seasoned member of the CBSO, working under so many great conductors.
Under Seal's clear and empowering baton Nielsen's Maskarade Overture was ebullient. precisely buzzed from the upper strings, beefy from the lower strings and brass. I would urge the RBC to put this joyous opera on its short-list for a Spring production.
A huge contrast came with the grand guignol of Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin, its cacophony well controlled, brass sleazy and louche, clarinet solos dark and haunting, its erotic waltz softly cushioned, and all its mystery and X-certificate allure combining with the driving impetus Seal propelled with these brilliant young players.
Christopher Morley

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