Music from 18th-century Birmingham provides the material for a fascinating evening at the CBSO Centre in Berkley Street on Saturday, when the latest concert in the much-loved CBSO Players Centre Stage series presents "Hark, I hear musick!"
Based on Birmingham City Archive records of Soho House in Handsworth, the programme reconstructs a typical evening enjoyed by Matthew Boulton and his circle of friends in the famous Lunar Society, founders of the Industrial Revolution who were also great lovers of the arts.
Readings from Boulton's letters and diaries interleave performances from CBSO players on period instruments, with vocal solos from the popular Lichfield-based soprano Natalie Clifton-Griffith, one of the leading lights in the Ex Cathedra chamber choir.
Nick Kingsley, Birmingham city archivist between 1989 and 2000 with responsibilities including the Matthew Boulton and James Watt papers, is the reader.
Among the musical rarities to be heard are a Symphonia di Camera by Sir William Herschel (discoverer of the planet Uranus), and a "Concerto in Seven Parts" by Capel Bond, the Coventry organist and choirmaster who was one of the founders and directors of the 1768 Birmingham Musical Festival.
More familiar offerings include works by Thomas Arne, JS Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian (who settled in London) and Handel, with a neat little suite from Messiah (7.30pm, details on 0121 767 4050).
At the other end of the time spectrum, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group embarks upon one of its renowned tours of the region's countryside on Sunday, bringing audiences in Worcestershire and Shropshire the chance to hear work in progress on one of its major new offerings scheduled for official premiere later in the year.
BCMG's apprentice composerinassociation, the young Jordanian Saed Haddad, is currently writing a chamber concerto for oud (the Arabic lute), to be premiered at the CBSO Centre on September 10 during Birmingham's annual Arts-Fest, and the distinguished Palestinian oud player Saed Haddad is jetting in from Jerusalem to perform what has so far been completed at Number 8 Community Arts Centre, Pershore (3pm) and at The Edge Arts Centre, William Brookes School, Much Wenlock (7.30pm).
The conductor is Martyn Brabbins (who scored such a personal success when he presided over the CBSO's recent performance of Tippett's A Child of our Time), and the programme also includes Sir Harrison Birtwistle's impressive Ritual Fragment. Admission to the performances is free, with an opportunity to discuss the music with the performers over tea and buns afterwards.
Susanna Malkki, the highly gifted young Finnish conductor who has made such an impression at her performances with BCMG, makes her CBSO debut next Thursday afternoon at Symphony Hall (2.15pm).
French composer Ravel is the connecting thread throughout the programme, which begins with his enchanting Mother Goose ballet in a complete performance, and the brittle, jazzy G major Piano Concerto, in which the soloist is Peter Jablonski.
Completing the afternoon is Ravel's virtuosic orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky's vivid piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition. Details on 0121 780 3333.
The Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra brings the latest in its continual stream of mouthwatering programmes to the city's Adrian Boult Hall on Sunday, when Neil Aston, a popular young conductor rapidly gaining a respected name for himself in musical circles, presides over Berlioz' rarely-heard King Lear Overture, Stravinsky's quirkily effervescent Jeu de Cartes and Dvorak's hardy perennial New World Symphony (7.30pm, details on 0121 236 5622).
Saturday evening sees Symphony Hall hosting a visit from the Academy of Ancient Music, pioneers of "period performance" many decades ago under Christopher Hogwood, who here returns to direct them in works by Mendelssohn (the impressive Scottish Symphony and the lovely Violin Concerto, with Giuliano Carmignola the soloist) and Weber (excerpts from his romantically woodland and spooky opera Der Freischutz, joined by soprano Christiane Oelze).
This concert begins at 7.30pm, with details on 0121 780 3333.