Review: Birmingham Classical Season Launch at THSH Symphony Hall

by Dave Massey

Birmingham Classical Season Launch at THSH Symphony Hall

Yesterday saw the launch of the Birmingham Classical 2018/19 season at THSH’s Birmingham Symphony Hall and was my first introduction to proper classical concerts.

The first half was an introduction piece by Rachmaninoff which made me think of the ocean and waves crashing, so I was amused to discover it was called The Rock, Op 7.

This was then followed by eight different poems set to music by Richard Strauss and very beautifully sung in German by Fatma Said wearing a floor length dark blue dress which also reminded me of waves and the sea! Fatma then sang a beautiful song from her homeland of Egypt which she said was from 1956.

Fatma Said
Fatma Said

Billed as Shostakovich’s Fifth with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Xian ZhangShostakovich’s Fifth actually took up the whole of the second half of the performance in four distinct pieces (which I’ve discovered are called movements).

First composed by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1937 it was performed in the same year (Says Wiki) by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia, this Symphony has a real film/musical/opera soundtrack feel to it, with distinct overtures, tense sections, happy sections and sad moments.

I thought that seeing dance without dialogue, or musicals without speaking sections was challenging, so I was a bit worried about how I’d understand this. But the music and listening to the particular instruments made me want to lay back in my seat and close my eyes and breathe it all in. Most people in the audience were sat bolt upright intently.

Xian Zhang
Xian Zhang

Having first been to Symphony Hall in 1995 or 1996 this great venue still looks as new today as it first did. There’s the feeling of being in the belly of a luxury ship with the chrome and mahogany toned finishes all around and of course the sound is amazing.

The Birmingham Classical 2018/19 season has thirty five more events between now and the end of July 2019 at both Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall.

Check out the listings here:

This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to the Birmingham Classical Season Launch by THSH at Symphony Hall.