The internationally talented pianist, Cédric Tiberghien, was joined with 4 musicians from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) on the 3rd February and they put a tremendous amount of effort into the concerto. With 2 carefully selected and exquisite pieces to play and impress the audience, this classical quintet went down very well. Cedric Tiberghien has toured over 5 continents and has performed in some of the world’s most significant concert halls. Some of these include, Carnegie Hall in Washington, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. Now, we have the honour of seeing Cédric performing at his best in the UK.
As I first stepped into the auditorium and was handed the programme for the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see a page of literature and historical context which related to the classical pieces which was about to be performed. I thought this approach to viewing a concerto gave us a fantastic insight into the origins of the pieces and some background info for us to read as we relaxed and listened. The first classical piece was Wolfgang Mozart’s Quintet for piano and winds, K.452. This lasted around 25 minutes and once this had finished, Michael Kidd, who played the horn, told a quick, comical anecdote to the audience about how Mozart used to play practical pranks on his fellow musicians. I enjoyed this sense of audience engagement and thought that it brought the music to life very well.
The second piece was Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds, Op.16. Lasting around 20 minutes, this brought the concerto to an end. I was particularly impressed with the subtlety of this piece and how the sounds of the piano and wind instruments exquisitely flowed together. On one hand, while creating a quiet ambience which made every fibre in our body relax, on the other, Tiberghien suddenly broke out into a loud dichotomy of notes which gave a very dramatic finish to the concerto.
Synchronism – This was the one word which stood out the most for me as I was watching and listening to this event. It was brilliant to see how well the musicians collaborated in order to produce such flawlessly synchronised music. In terms of the venue, the CBSO is just a short walk from the Birmingham Symphony Hall. The concerto took place in the main part of the building, which is called ‘The Justham Auditorium’. The instruments created a beautiful echo within the building and was large enough to hold a significant amount of people.
I must admit, I was disappointed at the lack of young people in the audience. Me and my boyfriend felt a bit like spare sardines. However, this did not stop us in enjoying the music and I think it is important that the younger generation listen and feel inspired by it too. So, this is an urgent plea to all youngsters out there – please give the classical genre a chance. It was definitely a worthy concerto to attend and I will keep my eye open for anymore events at the CBSO.
Review by Laura Bourne for Grapevine Birmingham @LauraBourne96