Artists

Orchestra

26 - 27 May '19

Tour VI 18/19
26 - 27 May '19

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Tour

Concert dates and locations

  • 26 May 2019 | Tonhalle Maag Zurich | 18:30
  • 27 May 2019 | Victoria Hall Geneva | 20:00

Artists

Programme Zurich

Our new concert series presents the best winners of the Migros Culture Percentage Student Award and the Encouragement Award. Discover the Soloists of Tomorrow in short 30-minutes recitals that will start one hour before the following concerts: 28.11.2018, 27.1.2019, 22.3.2019 and 13.5.2019 in Lucerne, 25.10.2018, 27.11.2018, 26.1.2019, 20.3.2019, 9.4.2019 and 26.5.2019 in Zurich. Your season ticket or concert ticket entitles to a free admission for each of these concerts.
Honegger composed his "Pastorale d'été" (Summer Pastoral) in 1920 during a summer stay in Wengen, in the Bernese Alps. "J'ai embrassé l'aube d'été..." (I have embraced the summer dawn) is the epigraph by Arthur Rimbaud that the composer chose to write on the score. However, except a few bird’s chirpings – joyfully suggested by the flute and clarinet – the work is in no way descriptive but far more an atmospheric piece that conveys feelings. It is organised in three parts according to the ABA scheme (slow – fast – slow). A soft and poetic horn motif sets out the first theme (part A), while the clarinet presents a rural motif in part B. The final section reintroduces and overlays elements borrowed from the previous two parts. Inspired by the Debussy and Ravel, Honegger favoured simple and modal writing in this piece. "It's music you can hear with your eyes closed," suggested Jean Cocteau, who required the very opposite from the "Group of Six" that Honegger had recently joined. "Pastorale d'été" was premiered in Paris on 17 February 1921 and won at the end of the concert the Prix Verley, a distinction granted by the public. Honegger's musical language changed completely after this “Pastoral d’été”; it was only in 1946 that the Franco-Swiss composer came back to a similar style with his Symphony Nº 4 "Deliciae Basiliensis".
From 1845 onwards, Schumann was driven by an ardent desire to surpass himself, which led him to produce works at a frantic pace. From then on, he composed large-scale choral and orchestral works (Genoveva, Manfred, Requiem für Mignon, Scenes from Goethe's Faust, symphonies 2 to 4), as well as all of his seven concertante works. The Piano Concerto in A minor is by far the most accomplished of these productions. It stems from a Fantasy for piano and orchestra that Schumann composed in 1841 for his wife, Clara. Four years later, the composer added a Finale, and then a slow movement, since his publishers considered a concerto in three movements easier to market than a simple Allegro. The Concerto op. 54 is dedicated to the pianist and composer Ferdinand Hiller, who became one of Schumann's close friends in 1845. It was Clara Schumann, however, who triumphantly premiered the concerto on New Year's Day 1846 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. After the concert, she was delighted and claimed that the work was "a gift from Above". Schumann began composing this concerto after having studied Bach's works to "strengthen" his own style. The Cantor’s formal rigour does not, however, show through in this concerto, which doesn't boast any ostensible virtuosity either. According to Schumann himself, the work is at the crossroads of the symphony, the concerto and the grand sonata.
Brahms' four symphonies are all mature works: the German composer waited until his forties before producing all his greatest symphonic compositions in less than a decade. Whereas the First Symphony cost him many efforts, the next was written in one go, in the course of a summer vacation spent at Lake Wörtersee in Carinthia. "The melodies flow so easily that you have to be careful not to crush them!” Brahms was obviously very much inspired by this idyllic environment to which he remained faithful three summers in a row. The charm of this peaceful mountain resort seems to reflect in the Op. 73, which music-lovers of the time soon nicknamed "Brahms' Pastoral Symphony". The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the symphony on 30 December 1877 under Hans Richter and was even requested to play the bucolic third movement a second time though! Brahms himself joked that this "cheerful and completely innocent little symphony" was a "sequel of waltzes", since two of the movements (the first and third) are in triple meter. Subsequently, commentators found this symphony to have "Mozartian qualities" owing to the transparency of the orchestration. After the first performance in France, composer Paul Dukas was "struck how the work gives the full measure of Brahms' originality."

Programme Geneva

Honegger composed his "Pastorale d'été" (Summer Pastoral) in 1920 during a summer stay in Wengen, in the Bernese Alps. "J'ai embrassé l'aube d'été..." (I have embraced the summer dawn) is the epigraph by Arthur Rimbaud that the composer chose to write on the score. However, except a few bird’s chirpings – joyfully suggested by the flute and clarinet – the work is in no way descriptive but far more an atmospheric piece that conveys feelings. It is organised in three parts according to the ABA scheme (slow – fast – slow). A soft and poetic horn motif sets out the first theme (part A), while the clarinet presents a rural motif in part B. The final section reintroduces and overlays elements borrowed from the previous two parts. Inspired by the Debussy and Ravel, Honegger favoured simple and modal writing in this piece. "It's music you can hear with your eyes closed," suggested Jean Cocteau, who required the very opposite from the "Group of Six" that Honegger had recently joined. "Pastorale d'été" was premiered in Paris on 17 February 1921 and won at the end of the concert the Prix Verley, a distinction granted by the public. Honegger's musical language changed completely after this “Pastoral d’été”; it was only in 1946 that the Franco-Swiss composer came back to a similar style with his Symphony Nº 4 "Deliciae Basiliensis".
From 1845 onwards, Schumann was driven by an ardent desire to surpass himself, which led him to produce works at a frantic pace. From then on, he composed large-scale choral and orchestral works (Genoveva, Manfred, Requiem für Mignon, Scenes from Goethe's Faust, symphonies 2 to 4), as well as all of his seven concertante works. The Piano Concerto in A minor is by far the most accomplished of these productions. It stems from a Fantasy for piano and orchestra that Schumann composed in 1841 for his wife, Clara. Four years later, the composer added a Finale, and then a slow movement, since his publishers considered a concerto in three movements easier to market than a simple Allegro. The Concerto op. 54 is dedicated to the pianist and composer Ferdinand Hiller, who became one of Schumann's close friends in 1845. It was Clara Schumann, however, who triumphantly premiered the concerto on New Year's Day 1846 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. After the concert, she was delighted and claimed that the work was "a gift from Above". Schumann began composing this concerto after having studied Bach's works to "strengthen" his own style. The Cantor’s formal rigour does not, however, show through in this concerto, which doesn't boast any ostensible virtuosity either. According to Schumann himself, the work is at the crossroads of the symphony, the concerto and the grand sonata.
Brahms' four symphonies are all mature works: the German composer waited until his forties before producing all his greatest symphonic compositions in less than a decade. Whereas the First Symphony cost him many efforts, the next was written in one go, in the course of a summer vacation spent at Lake Wörtersee in Carinthia. "The melodies flow so easily that you have to be careful not to crush them!” Brahms was obviously very much inspired by this idyllic environment to which he remained faithful three summers in a row. The charm of this peaceful mountain resort seems to reflect in the Op. 73, which music-lovers of the time soon nicknamed "Brahms' Pastoral Symphony". The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra premiered the symphony on 30 December 1877 under Hans Richter and was even requested to play the bucolic third movement a second time though! Brahms himself joked that this "cheerful and completely innocent little symphony" was a "sequel of waltzes", since two of the movements (the first and third) are in triple meter. Subsequently, commentators found this symphony to have "Mozartian qualities" owing to the transparency of the orchestration. After the first performance in France, composer Paul Dukas was "struck how the work gives the full measure of Brahms' originality."

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Good to know

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is the flagship of musical life in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and one of the world’s greatest orchestras. Since its very first symphonic concert in 1920 – conducted by Sir Edward Elgar – the CBSO has continuously expanded its artistic reputation, earning international fame in the 1980s under Simon Rattle. His successors Sakari Oramo, Andris Nelsons and Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (Music Director since 2016) have maintained this level of excellence. The CBSO is part of a large musical family that also includes several choruses and a youth orchestra. This artistic community enables the CBSO to make and share great music in England's second largest urban area through a wide variety of events that include kindergarten workshops, community neighbourhood projects and family activities as well as chamber music and jazz concerts.

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