On Wednesday 1 May at Royal Festival Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Ryan Wigglesworth performed Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 4, and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the London Philharmonic Choir and soloists Claire Booth, Pamela Helen Stephen, Ben Johnson and Matthew Rose.
Here are the reviews of the concert:
‘Tippett’s great oratorio, in contrast, was done with tremendous subtlety. Moments of objectivity on Wigglesworth’s part, together with brief but notable pauses between sections, reminded us of the work’s structural roots in Bach, without detracting from the power of its harrowing analysis of totalitarian persecution. Orchestral textures were lean yet beautiful, while the London Philharmonic Choir sang with an accuracy that was breathtaking.’ (4 stars)
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
‘The conductor, Ryan Wigglesworth, charted this repeated journey [the Vaughan Williams] skilfully and obtained first-rate playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a fine, warm bloom to the sound…The London Philharmonic Choir excelled itself in Tippett’s often testing choral writing.’ (4 stars)
Richard Fairman, Financial Times
‘This [second] movement had great clarity and you felt that the formal structures of RVW’s work were far more clearly apparent than in some performances. This wasn’t a comfortable performance though (in the best possible sense) and some moments in this movement were more astonishing than I have ever heard. The final flute solo was unutterably bleak … There was a feeling, in this performance, of Wigglesworth removing layers of accumulated paint from RVW’s symphony to reveal its true structure. It was a complete tour-de-force from the orchestra, who stunningly followed Wigglesworth’s speeds and need for impetus and controlled violence.’ (5 stars)
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (blog)
‘The London Philharmonic Chorus [sic] were vivid and strong, whether they were sympathising or condemning. Their intricate weave showed that this work is ‘all about counterpoint’ too. But again, Wigglesworth and the performers turned this purely musical device into something richly expressive.’ (4 stars)
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph (not online)
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 on Friday 17 May, when Vladimir Jurowski conducts Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 6. Find out more.