Birmingham’s youngsters make Sacre appear really easy

The CBSO Youth Orchestra has stepped as much as play within the CBSO100 season (full protection solely on

Overview by Christopher Morley

Symphony Corridor *****

There might have been no higher programme for the bright-eyed, bristling younger musicians of the CBSO Youth Orchestra: two iconoclastic works from daring Russian composers, and each premiered in the identical 12 months, 1913.

Coached by knowledgeable CBSO tutors throughout an intensive week of preparation, and assiduously rehearsed below the baton of CBSOYO guru Michael Seal, every little thing got here to fruition this exhilarating Sunday afternoon – Andrew Gourlay now on the rostrum, and the children presenting a gratifyingly skilled platform-manner.

Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto was the work with which Birmingham-based Lauren Zhang gained the 2018 BBC Younger Musician competitors. Right here, accompanied by her contemporaries who collaborated below Gourlay with immense empathy, she dazzled us not simply along with her good, spectacular approach, but in addition with the sheer musicality of her response to the numerous textural layers of this music.

Written for the composer’s personal steely fingers, the piece is definitely a maelstrom of exercise, nevertheless it additionally has immense tenderness at its coronary heart (I at all times consider Prokofiev because the 20th-century Mozart), and Zhang discovered a lot amid its busyness. Her Chopin encore was equally busy, Zhang remaining composed as she at all times seems on the platform.

Stravinsky’s Ceremony of Spring was once a take a look at for any orchestra (I’ve some historic recordings of ensembles all at sea, even one below the composer’s flailing course — he did enhance later as a conductor). This efficiency from the outstanding CBSOYO was assured in each division (although I have to single out the essential percussion and infrequently deliciously coarse heavy brass), and, because of the thorough preparation and Gourlay’s considered, usually sinuous balancing, the rating emerged with crystal readability, regardless of the massiveness of the orchestra. There have been instances I felt they may have unleashed much more power.

However the ending of the Sacrificial Dance was cataclysmic. To us within the viewers it was a transferring instance of how inspirational the dedication of our musical kids may be.


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