whats onopinion

Review: CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy at Birmingham Town Hall

Conductor Michael Seal rose to the occasion, magnificently creating total rapport with his young musicians.

A weekend treat for all listeners and rare challenges for the young performers. Appropriately named, Lindberg’s ‘Adventures’ sparked off this concert with an air of brain-teasing fun. Short snatches from various orchestral works appeared, including eerie pianissimo trumpet and varied percussion textures, all sporadically tantalising the audience by constantly changing the atmosphere. Conductor Michael Seal rose to the occasion, magnificently creating total rapport with his young musicians.

A totally accessible, rarely performed, R Strauss’s ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilehomme’ suite charmed and delighted all. The reduced baroque orchestra has many exposed personal solos, from tender oboe, cello and viola to a sturdy bass trombone. As ever Strauss enjoys stretching his horns to the full, added to which the six percussionists tactfully made their mark with good effect. Smiling music for all, especially the braying sheep and twittering interruptive birds!

Then to the true meat of this evening: Brahms’ Symphony No 4. The full orchestra swept in with gutsy strings and splendid woodwind solo snippets. Although do take care with truly clean violin entries, even one hesitation shows through. Determined pizzicatos threatened to overwhelm at times but otherwise a truly passionate rendering of this challenging work. Brahms used a (beautifully played here) solemn flute as a soloist in the passacaglia until eventually trombones come into their own with their chunky solemn quasi sacred moment.

Leader Charlotte Moseley shone throughout the concert and thankfully has eventually learnt that it is her responsibility to lead the orchestra from the stage after final accolades.

View full mobile page