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CBSO: From the Danube to the Rhine – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Zazushi Ono

Reviewer: Sam Chipman

After the “Tragic” Fourth Symphony in C minor, in which Schubert was showing signs of development towards a romantic symphony, his Fifth Symphony reverted back to a more conventionally classical symphony although the availability of certain instruments in his amateur orchestra seems likely to have influenced this. Kazushi Ono leads the CBSO with much guile: you can tell he is a seasoned conductor who understands exactly how to bring out the nuances in Schubert’s clever orchestrations: the Andante con moto in particular really proves this. The string section drives through the Allergro vivace with precision and is aptly backed up by the small woodwind and brass sections.

Following Schubert’s Symphony Number 5, we move on to Mozart’s Flute Concerto Number 2. In a letter to his father in 1778, Mozart quoted that the flute was “an instrument that I detest”. However this was upon the back of being commissioned by amateur flautist, Ferdinand Dejean to write three concertos and four quartets: he had begun to lose interest and become distracted by growing passions for Aloysia Weber (who later became his sister in law) which resulted in him losing part of his fee, hence his frustrations. His writing here is actually for an oboe, but was adapted to be performed as a flute concerto. Marie-Christine Zupancic plays with great expression and ability, her cadenzas are suitable stylistic and allow her to show off her virtuosic skills. She is ably accompanied by the CBSO who take delight in the conversation Mozart gives with the soloist. The Allegro is delightfully light and spirited: a true homage to Mozart himself.

“A slice of Rhenish life” is what Schumann called the fourth movement of his Third Symphony, inspired by a visit to Cologne Cathedral and which rounds off the evening. Thrilled by the sights of Dusseldorf after arriving to take up the post of musical director in 1850, the work reflects the beauty of the Rhineland he saw around him; this was before both personal and professional problems arose which resulted in a suicide attempt by drowning in the Rhine in 1854. The Lebhaft is played with triumphant impatience by a larger CBSO orchestra, a vividly bright performance of the great Schumann score. The brass section really grasps the solemn feel of the Feierlich which is played both lyrically and with gravitas, and the final Lebhaft is played with a sense of urgency to bring about the climactic finish.

Kazushi Ono shows his class, as does the CBSO, with this delightful concert. An excellent selection of music to tickle any classic music lovers taste-buds, and played nimbly and with great intelligent awareness by the CBSO, marshalled by Ono – all in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening of music.

Photo:Stofleth | Reviewed on: 5th February

Conductor: Zazushi Ono Reviewer: Sam Chipman After the "Tragic" Fourth Symphony in C minor, in which Schubert was showing signs of development towards a romantic symphony, his Fifth Symphony reverted back to a more conventionally classical symphony although the availability of certain instruments in his amateur orchestra seems likely to have influenced this. Kazushi Ono leads the CBSO with much guile: you can tell he is a seasoned conductor who understands exactly how to bring out the nuances in Schubert's clever orchestrations: the Andante con moto in particular really proves this. The string section drives through the Allergro vivace with…

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