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Birmingham’s best

Birmingham’s best
Birmingham’s best

Message from inveterate concertgoer Tim Walton:

In a break from what is going on at the CBSO, I went to a fantastic concert at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the final concert of their academic year. It turned out to be one of the finest orchestral concerts I had heard in the 37 years I have been attending Conservatoire concerts. For students to put on a concert of this complexity is astonishing.

At the helm of this concert was the esteemed conductor Martyn Brabbins, on the day it was announced that he had been appointed Chief Conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

The main work was the monumental Busoni Piano Concerto. It was 25 years since it was last heard in Birmingham and commemorated the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death. It is not only 73 minutes long but has 5 movements, played without a break and 83 players on stage, plus a male voice choir in the last movement – no wonder it is hardly ever played!

The soloist was the wonderful Emanuil Ivanov, who I have got to know quite well during his 6 years of study at the RBC (BMus & MMus). In his first year as a student, he won first prize in the 2019 Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy. This was a remarkable performance, all from memory. Emanuil returns to Bulgaria on the 27th of June to give the work’s Bulgarian premiere.

After the interval, we heard the world premiere of a short piece by composition student, Kinna Whitehead. She was not only the composer but the singer in the performance.

The final work in the programme, in the centenary of its composition was Respighi’s Pines of Rome. Added to the already large orchestra was an offstage brass section, played above & behind us in the gallery. Talk about surround sound! Wow!

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