Birmingham’s year-long Mahler cycle continued with the bracing horn call launching the CBSO’s account of the composer’s Symphony No .3.
Listening to this piece, possibly the longest symphony in the repertoire, evoked for me parallels with Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, The Godfather. The generous running-times of both enable a stately, monumental progression of narrative, empathetic development of characters and, most crucially, the complete construction of a world.
Despite a slight drop of tension in the middle third of the symphony, the lively entry of the on-form CBSO Ladies and Youth Choruses at the beginning of the penultimate movement reinvigorated the orchestra.
By the finale, the performance was firmly back on track. The CBSO strings particularly impressed in Mahler’s hymn to love and Sinaisky delicately directed the performance to a suitably thrilling conclusion.
The concert also marked the renewed relationship between the CBSO and the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra, with the latter giving a thoughtful pre-concert showcase under Michael Seal.