Song’s From The 60’s, CBSO, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

THE high quality sound was still there, but the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra took on a very different look for this Friday Night Classics performance.

Getting in the mood for the songs from the Sixties, the musicians drew gasps from the audience as they took the stage in a range of colourful gear – Sgt Pepper costumes, headbands, wigs and flares.

Only conductor Richard Balcombe retained his usual immaculate appearance with bow tie and dinner jacket, though superb vocalists Graham Bickley, Mary Carewe, Abbie Osmon and Alison Jiear were pretty smart, too.

Bickley opened the concert by recalling that the music on the programme was from a time when petrol was about the equivalent of 25p a gallon and a season ticket at Villa Park probably cost £8!

The choice of numbers was ideal, starting with Monday, Monday and California Dreamin’ then moving on with Burt Bacharach’s Always Something There to Remind Me and Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want to be With You, before the first half closed – appropriately on a rain-drenched night – with Let the Sunshine In.

Orchestra clarinetist John Durant impressed with a solo of Acker Bilk’s Stranger on the Shore, and after the interval the orchestra sparkled with Casino Royale and a roaring medley from Thunderbirds, Mission Impossible, The Avengers and Star Trek.

Paul Marston, Birmingham Mail, 21st November 2014

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