Showing posts from January, 2022

CBSO review 20.1.22

THREE ORCHESTRAS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE CBSO Symphony Hall ***** We got three orchestras for the price of one in this amazing offering from an on-fire CBSO – almost literally so, with horns blazing in Strauss and Mahler. What we all recognise as a great ensemble (which we sometimes risk taking for granted) has the capacity to turn on even more greatness under the right conductor, and the players certainly did so here under the eloquent, clear baton of the orchestra's Chief Conductor-elect, Kazuki Yamada. The musicians obviously love him, and he them, and this matinee audience joined in with warm, prolonged applause. It was a joy to see such genuine delight on the players' faces, knowing now that they have a music director settling into his task with such enthusiasm, as well as a concertmaster, Eugene Tzikindelean, bringing such distinction to his role. This was a mouthwatering programme with Mozart as its pivot, preceded by the Don Juan of Richard Strauss (who ad

Norman Stinchcombe's CBSO review 13.1.22

TRIUMPHAL SIBELIUS CBSO at Symphony Hall ★★★★ By the time young American conductor Ryan Bancroft had reached the last triumphant bars of Sibelius's second symphony I was so engrossed in this dynamic performance I'd become unaware of wearing a face-mask – not something I ever thought I'd say. Bancroft didn't try to reverse-engineer the symphony, seeking out early intimations of the austere, mystical, enigmatic late Sibelius of 'Tapiola' and the seventh symphony. His was a big-boned, big hearted romantic approach – not unlike vintage Barbirolli – full of drama, rich sonorities and eager to seize on Sibelius's 'ma rubato' indication in the Andante. What a movement that it is, right from it's opening spooky, crepuscular low-string pizzicati articulated crisply by the CBSO's cello and bass sections. Even the muted ring tone from an idiot's mobile phone couldn't ruin playing of this intensity. The symphony's climax, built unerri

Norman Stinchcombe's latest CD reviews

BRANTUB OF CD REVIEWS! BACH & HANDEL : Devieilhe Pygmalion / Pinchon ★★★★★ Sabine Devieilhe is the reigning Queen of the Night in Europe's opera houses and so handles the coloratura demands of Handel with consummate ease. Two Cleopatra arias from 'Julius Caesar in Egypt' – star turns for great sopranos like Joan Sutherland – showcase Devieilhe's pin-point accuracy and grace. In both 'Che sento' and 'Piangero' Cleopatra is no longer the bewitching beauty but a woman facing her downfall and death and Devieilhe, very much inside the character, draws her plight convincingly. She is versatile too, capturing Mary's misery as her son Jesus is dragged away in the aria from Handel's 'Brocke's Passion'. She is impassioned and moving in Bach's solo cantata 'Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut'. The accompaniment by the Pygmalion Ensemble under RaphaĆ«l Pinchon is quicksilver and alert. The generous 84 minute recital ends with t


A BIRMINGHAM ORCHESTRA REBRANDS ITSELF EROICA'S REBIRTH By Christopher Morley So many amateur orchestras are formed with the highest aspirations, and I have seen so many of them come and ago. But the Eroica Camerata has been going strong since 2006, and is rising from the enforced pandemic lockdown with a striking new look at itself. "Our first public concert will be on Saturday in St Nicolas Church, Kings Norton, our home venue, with a programme of Beethoven and Brahms second symphonies. This follows a successful play day in September with the orchestra working on the Brahms and also Beethoven's Egmont overture, which will also feature in the concert. The Beethoven was on our very first concert programme in 2006," says music director Peter Marks. "However, I am planning several key differences with past performance practice," he continues "The pandemic has given me time and cause to reflect on what I consider ab