Reviews: Saturday 27 April 2013 – Vladimir Jurowski & Barbara Hannigan (Webern, Berg, Bartók & Martinů)

April 29, 2013

On Saturday 27 April at Royal Festival Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performed Webern’s Variations Op. 30, Berg’s Suite from the opera Lulu with soprano Barbara Hannigan, Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, and Martinů’s Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani.

Here are the reviews of the concert:

‘Intellectually and emotionally speaking this was a classic of its kind … the accomplishment of its execution was as exemplary as it was gripping … What an extraordinary concert.’
Edward Seckerson, The Arts Desk

‘[Martinů’s Double Concerto] showcased the versatile excellence of pianist Catherine Edwards, who deservedly got the biggest cheer of the evening. In London this charismatic musician is usually confined to the relatively Cinderella role of ‘orchestral pianist’. It’s time we heard Edwards for real, as a proper concerto soloist.’ (5 stars)
Michael Church, The Independent

‘The LPO was in powerfully unanimous and wonderfully articulate form … This [the Martinů] was a sensationally good performance of terror-charged music, bristling with incident, driven without inhibition, the first movement’s angular rhythms spat out with fury (Simon Carrington the judicious timpanist) and the impassioned slow movement (a cry of pain from all of the composer’s pores) only reposed by Catherine Edwards’s piano solos, and even they muse soulfully.
This was not only a must-be-there concert, but a challenging one for the LPO, music that demands unstinting and detailed preparation. The Bartók may have slightly drawn the short straw in this respect, but the evening was a triumph.’
Colin Anderson, Classical Source

‘There was much to admire: this was highly dramatic Webern … Pieter Schoeman’s violin solos were especially well judged, sweetly Romantic, even hyper-Romantic, just as Webern’s music demands.
There was just the right degree of lilt to [Hannigan’s Lulu] performance, as there was to that of the LPO. High notes hit the spot in every sense, and coloratura told dramatically as well as musically. One longed to see her in the entire role. Jurowski balanced his forces and shaped the musical argument well.’
Mark Berry, Boulezian (blog)

‘That the LPO could tackle such a testing programme on a couple of days’ rehearsal speaks volumes for the players’ concentration. There were rough edges in Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, but also an edge-of-seat excitement. And Martinu’s Double Concerto for String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani sounded by turns scary, eerie, whiplash-driven and doggedly resolute: a compelling document of what it was like to be alive and terrified in 1938.’ (4 stars)
Richard Morrison, The Times (subscriber access only)

‘Some of the concerts at The Rest is Noise contain well-loved and often-played pieces, but it is concerts like this one where the festival’s importance really lies. These four outstanding pieces of music are not heard as often as they should be (perhaps with the expection of the Bartók), but if all the performances are as impressive as the LPO’s, I would not be surprised to see this change.’
Renée Reitsma, Bachtrack.com

‘An exceptional concert, thoughtfully planned and delivered with tremendous accuracy and intensity.’ (5 stars)
Andrew Clements, The Guardian

 

This concert was part of The Rest Is Noise festival of 20th-century music, which continues at Southbank Centre throughout 2013. The next LPO concert is this Wednesday, 1 May, when Ryan Wigglesworth conducts Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4 and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the London Philharmonic Choir. Find out more.

lpo.org.uk
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Reviews: 22 February 2012 – Vladimir Jurowski, Joshua Bell and the LPC

February 23, 2012

On Wednesday 22 February, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performed Mozart’s Symphony No. 32; Zemlinsky’s Psalm 23 and Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3 (The Song of the Night) with the London Philharmonic Choir; and Brahms’s Violin Concerto with soloist Joshua Bell.

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and is available to listen again here free of charge until 28 February.

Reviewed by Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk:
The London Philharmonic Choir (particularly the upper voices) made a persuasive case for the more bucolic episodes [of the Zemlinsky], sitting smoothly on the rather self-consciously verdant pastures summoned by Jurowski’s woodwind and harps.

Reviewed by Mark Berry, Boulezian blog:
The organ-founded climaxes [of the Szymanowski] packed quite a punch, but it was the Debussyan and Tristan-esque magic that truly ravished, for which conductor, orchestra, and choir were equally responsible.

lpo.org.uk
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More reviews (2): 8 February 2012 – Marin Alsop & Stephen Hough

February 13, 2012

On Wednesday 8 February, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed Martinů’s Symphony No. 6, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, and Liszt’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, under conductor Marin Alsop with pianist Stephen Hough at Royal Festival Hall.

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and is available to listen again here free of charge until 15 February.

Reviewed by Stephen Pritchard, The Observer:
Whether crashing down the keyboard in the thunderous octaves of the opening movement of the first, or scampering about in the delicate filigree of the single-movement second, Hough displays an awesome technique. The gradual acceleration of the final movement of the first was breathtaking to behold, and the closing presto positively explosive. Listen again on the BBC iPlayer. You won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by Richard Fairman, Financial Times:
Hough was assured of sterling support from the LPO and the evening’s conductor, Marin Alsop. Teamed with a soloist who is so light-fingered and agile, they were careful not be too loud or too heavy … Martinu’s Symphony No 6, not often heard, made a welcome start, clothed in more subtle colours than usual, and, to end, Alsop drew very decent playing from the LPO in a performance of Dvorák’s Symphony No 8, which, like her Brahms symphonies, came with good sense and enough vitality.

Previous reviews here and here.

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More reviews: 8 February 2012 – Marin Alsop & Stephen Hough

February 10, 2012

On Wednesday 8 February, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed Martinů’s Symphony No. 6, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, and Liszt’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, under conductor Marin Alsop with pianist Stephen Hough at Royal Festival Hall.

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and is available to listen again here free of charge until 15 February.

Reviewed by Andrew Clements, The Guardian:
Hough managed to combine … excitement and drama with a keyboard finesse and precision that were sometimes breathtakingly vivid.

Previous reviews here.

lpo.org.uk
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Podcast: Marin Alsop in conversation

February 9, 2012

February’s podcast contains part of a pre-concert talk given by Marin Alsop on 8 February before the first of three concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in London and Nottingham.

 

American conductor Marin Alsop is a frequent guest with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Before one of her recent concerts in London which programmed music of central Europe, she gave a pre-concert talk in conversation with James Jolly. The topics explored include the soundworld of Martinů’s Sixth Symphony, Dvořák’s struggle to be accepted as a composer, and the orchestral writing in Liszt’s Piano Concertos.

The programme included Liszt’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, performed by Stephen Hough, and Alsop shared the ways in which conducting concertos is a different kind of music-making to the symphonic repertoire.

The March release on the LPO Label is of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe ballet, recorded in 1979 with Bernard Haitink and taken from the BBC archive. The podcast ends with a preview of the new CD.

More information and listen >

www.lpo.org.uk


Reviews: 8 February 2012 – Marin Alsop & Stephen Hough

February 9, 2012

On Wednesday 8 February, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed Martinů’s Symphony No. 6, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, and Liszt’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, under conductor Marin Alsop with pianist Stephen Hough at Royal Festival Hall.

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and is available to listen again here free of charge until 15 February.

Reviewed by Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk:
There was some lovely section playing from the first violins and the woodwind, especially in the delicate burbling in the Martinů. And the many solo contributions were extremely fine. Lead violin Lisa Schatzman made you sit up and listen every time she took control and chief flautist Jaime Martin was as winning as ever.

Reviewed by Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard:
If performing Liszt’s piano music were an Olympic event, Stephen Hough would be a gold medal contender … He certainly has the power for the frenzied pounding that, especially in the First Concerto, Liszt throws down as a challenge to the soloist. Yet there was also brooding lyricism and moments of reflective calm that Hough imbued with his own highly personal poetry.

Reviewed by Colin Anderson, Classicalsource.com:
With spot-on accompaniments from Alsop and the LPO, and notable solos from wind and string principals, Hough was in debonair form – barnstorming, glittering and pliant.

lpo.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @LPOrchestra


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