City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Angela Hewitt, Malvern Theatres

First published in Reviews

This exceptionally fine concert by the CBSO, conducted by Hannu Lintu, began with Les Preludes by Liszt.

Very soft unison strings grew in intensity until rich textural atmospherics were attained, harp, brass and drums creating much drama. Woodwind initiated staccato figures which the harp copied and the orchestra, bursting with energy, concluded with sonorous glory.

Soloist Angela Hewitt’s Beethoven playing was of the highest class in his First Piano Concerto with an abundance of tonal colour and a myriad of dynamics, the quiet sections always clear and her technical agility flawless. Her partnership with the orchestra was superb, each supported and enhanced the other and her cadenza’s were stunning.

Largo was given a tender pianissimo start, the CBSO punctuating the piano’s beautiful melody, the delicate shading immensely beguiling. Rondo set off at a joyful pace, flexible imitation between orchestra and piano, woodwind superb, as they danced together brilliantly.

As an encore Angela played the Adagio from Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ Sonata; it was a master-class in showing close attention to details: ravishing and awesome!

Dvorak’s New World Symphony was given a glorious performance by this world-class orchestra. Music influenced by African-American spirituals pervaded as emotion and enthusiasm was experienced through this compelling symphony.

By Jill Hopkins

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