Rattle replaces Mirga in car warehouse concert

Rattle replaces Mirga in car warehouse concert


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2020

With its music director expecting a baby, the he City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has called in Sir Simon Rattle to conduct its centenary concert on Saturday 5 September.

The venue is a warehouse and temporary production facility in Longbridge, Birmingham, famed for its former motor factories. The shed is big enough for a full symphony orchestra on social distancing, but there’s no safe space for an audience, dammit.

Mirga says: This is a very special moment for the orchestra. These are extraordinary circumstances, but it has been a wonderful task and challenge to devise this programme for both the orchestra and our audiences. When we were thinking about our centenary season, we chose works that have a special connection with the CBSO story, both past and present. It has felt like an intense conversation with the past and an opportunity to look ahead to the next chapter in the Orchestra’s story. One of the CBSO’s core values has always been innovation, and one of our tasks for the next 100 years is to make sure that continues. As we approached the centenary, we all agreed it was important to celebrate, but maybe even more important is to use this moment for re-thinking, re-questioning and re-discussing: ‘Who are we? Who do we want to be? What future do we imagine for the orchestra in this city?’. I think the founding conductor, Appleby Matthews, would be incredibly proud of his orchestra today!’


Robert Schumann Genoveva – Overture

Edward Elgar Serenade for Strings

Camille Saint-Saёns Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor

Hannah Kendall The Spark Catchers

A.R. Rahman Slumdog Millionaire Suite

Igor Stravinsky The Firebird – 1919 Suite



  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Why not? After all he is a better conductor, he is the best music director the orchestra has ever had, and he should be credited for raising the level and prestige of a [good] “provincial” orchestra to the international prestige it enjoys today…

    • Appleby says:

      Never a good sign when someone uses the term “provincial” to mean “not London” (it’s really quite offensive)…but to focus merely on the mistaken (though, to be fair, common) historical assumptions here, the CBSO was making superb, international-selling recordings under Louis Fremaux in the 1970s and in the 1940s was rated by Walter Legge as superior to any of the London orchestras.

  • Peter Macklin says:

    And for those who don’t know, this concert is being streamed on the CBSO Facebook and Youtube channels

  • Gustavo says:

    1919 – 3rd wave of the Spanish flu.

    • Derek says:

      The year before the CBSO first performed.

      100 Years later and, hopefully, a step towards a new start after the current interruption by Covid19.

      Best wishes for continued success!

  • Karl says:

    “A car warehouse concert. ” I can’t get over how that sounds. Wake me up, this has to be a bad dream.

    • Stephen Maddock says:

      Why don’t you give it a try – it’s obviously not a concert hall (the CBSO’s is closed at present). But it’s a nice big place meaning we can fit a decent sized orchestra in. And we have one of the top TV classical music directors so it will look magnificent – and contemporary.

      We were determined to mark the orchestra’s 100th birthday – which we will, to not just the day but the hour!

    • Magda says:

      Karl. The Audi factory in Ingolstadt has a festival each year. We heard the LSO play the Rite of Spring there. Was fascinating!

  • MacroV says:

    They’re doing what they can given the circumstances. Is this the first time Sir Simon has been back to the CBSO in a while?

    • Stephen Maddock says:

      He was most recently here in March 2019 for Beethoven 9 – so relatively recently, albeit it feels like an age in the circumstances!

  • rugbyfiddler says:

    Just a shame you couldn’t have sourced a picture of Simon with the CBSO Norman, rather than one of him in Berlin!

  • Anthony Mason says:

    Is this not a significant enough event in British musical life (and also in the context of several months of little or no live music) for the BBC to pick up and broadcast?

  • John Borstlap says:

    My fly on the wall informs me that they had an agreement that if Rattle would get in a similar procreative condition, she would take-over HIS concerts.