Showing posts from August, 2020

CBSO and Rattle streaming from a car warehouse

CBSO AND SIMON RATTLE STREAM FROM A CAR WAREHOUSE IN LONGBRIDGE by Christopher Morley It will be a strange experience for members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra when they assemble on Saturday September 5 for their first live performance since lockdown in March. There will be no audience, no reviewers, and the comforts and acoustic wonders of Symphony Hall will seem very far removed from the car warehouse in Longbridge, once the heart of Birmingham's motorland, where the event is going to happen. And the players will be socially distanced, two metres apart. No cosy desk-sharing between string-partners, no synchronised breathing between woodwind, no quips muttered along the brass phalanx. Perhaps only the percussionists will be the less discomfited performers, as they are used to scattering about in splendid isolation. Rehearsals at the CBSO Centre have had to be split, half the orchestra at a time, and Michael Seal, preparing the CBSO for the performance


NORMAN STINCHCOMBE REVIEWS NEW RELEASES OF ENGLISH MUSIC VENABLES REQUIEM : Soloists / Choir of Gloucester Cathedral / Partington ★★★★ Ian Venables embarked on a commission for a Requiem reluctantly but the death of a close friend was the emotional spark which ignited the compositional process. It's a large scale forty-minute work ending with a radiant Lux aeterna. The world premiere recording benefits from Gloucester Cathedral's spacious acoustic and Adrian Partington directs the excellent choir, especially effective in the a cappella Pie Jesu. Short works by Venables, Gurney, Joubert and Sanders complete the disc. Death is also the subject of the works in Venables' song collection Love Lies Beyond the Tomb ★★★. Six Songs for Soprano and Piano, with Mary Bevan and Graham J. Lloyd are beautifully reflective and meditative settings. Through These Pale Cold Days, with tenor Allan Clayton, include bitter and trenchant war poems by Owen and Sassoon. Andrew Motion's

Respighi and Brahms CD reviews

NORMAN STINCHCOMBE RAVES OVER JOHN WILSON'S RESPICHI AND RELISHES SIRODEAU'S BRAHMS RESPIGHI: Sinfonia of London / Wilson (Chandos SACD CHSA 5262) ★★★★★ Hearing Respighi's complete Roman Trilogy at a CBSO concert in February I found it too much of a good thing. So it's a credit to the orchestra's tremendously skilful playing; the Chandos engineering team's "shut your eyes and you're there" production; and conductor John Wilson's complete mastery of the composer's sound palette, that I listened to this disc at one sitting – absolutely spellbound. It opens with Roman Festivals and we have a ringside seat at the gladiatorial Circus Maximus. The recording location was St Augustine's Church, Kilburn and every inch of its generous acoustic is exploited with brass fanfares echoing around the aural spectrum. There's floorboard-shaking bass as you can almost see the Roman legions marching along the Appian Way in Pines of Rome. Resp