21st April 2022

[The CBSO about to play Mahler 5]

To my shame, I have never before today heard Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in a live concert – only in recordings and on the radio. However a CBSO concert this afternoon in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall rectified that in grand style. Conducted by Christopher König, the orchestra (my favourite, since teenage immersion in its Town Hall concerts under Louis Fremaux) was on top form and brought out the whole extraordinary musical and emotional depth of this glorious work. The concert opened with a delightfully poised, elegant performance of Mozart’s piano concerto No.27 in which the soloists was Paul Lewis, whose crystalline touch enchanted and delighted a large and enthusiastic audience. It’s such a thrill that a degree of normality has now returned to the concert hall – somehow it makes hearing such masterpieces all the more special.