Reviews: 18 April 2012 – Osmo Vänskä & Colin Currie

April 19, 2012

On Wednesday 18 April, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist Colin Currie, under conductor Osmo Vänskä, gave the world première of Sieidi: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Finnish composer Kalevi Aho. The programme also included Schumann’s Genoveva Overture and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1

Reviewed by Nick Kimberley, The Evening Standard:
‘Aho conjured up a different orchestral atmosphere for each station on Currie’s journey; whining sax over vibraphone recalled Debussy, sinuous rhythms suggested the swaying of an exotic dancer, one section with castanets might have worked on Broadway Meanwhile, Currie progressed with calm authority through an anthology of modern percussion gestures, using hands, sticks, mallets, brushes and bows to coax life into his instruments … Sieidi was vivid, colourful, entertaining.’

Reviewed by Geoff Brown, The Arts Desk:
‘The spatial effects were briefly striking, while Currie’s furious drumming was exciting: it always is. But I couldn’t help wishing that he was using his powers on music that went beyond being a hollow monument.’

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and you can listen again free here until 25 April.

lpo.org.uk

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Reviews: 13 April 2012 – International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation

April 16, 2012

On Friday 13 April, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist John Lill performed at Royal Festival Hall under three up-and-coming conductors as the culmination of the 2011/12 International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation. The three conductors were Thomas Blunt from the UK, Venezuelan Domingo Hindoyan, and Ward Stare from the USA.

Reviewed by Colin Anderson, Classicalsource.com:
‘Thomas Blunt sculpted a fiery, graceful and poised ‘Haffner’ Symphony (his baton-less gestures expressive rather than textbook), with dynamics finely observed and much that was stylish …
The first-movement cadenza [of the Beethoven concerto] was of strength and fantasy, the slow movement was given rare eloquence, and the finale enjoyed Lill’s puckish and rambunctious approach – or rather he knows just how the music goes and brought it to witty life. Indeed, throughout, one hung on every note, each one recognisable but seemingly new-minted…
Stare lucidly progressed through [Stravinsky’s Symphony in C] not over-expressing its pastoral simplicity, but making it sincere nonetheless, and finding a compelling solemnity at the opening of the finale. Otherwise the music pirouetted with grace and the decoration and deft counterpoint was intelligibly realised. The playing was deft and poetic.’

Reviewed by Edward Seckerson, The Independent:
‘This suave and self-assured young man [Domingo Hindoyan], a tall and rangy presence, immediately exhibited his skills in a shapely opening paragraph, the martial atmosphere crisply maintained with a frisson of excitement in the clinching crescendo. Lill is a past master of Beethovenian “distillation” and Hindoyan was at one with him in capturing the mystical spareness of their exchanges in the slow movement …
The dapper Ward Stare is already installed as Resident Conductor at the Saint Louis Symphony and his accomplished account of the evening’s most demanding piece – Stravinsky’s Symphony in C – was cool, collected, super-clear in its intentions, and often beautiful – nowhere more so than in the valedictory (and exceedingly tricky) wind chordings of the closing bars.’

Read more about the International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation

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More reviews: 28 March 2012 – Matthew Coorey & Lisa Batiashvili

March 30, 2012

On Wednesday 28 March, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with soloist/director Lisa Batiashvili, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 under conductor Matthew Coorey. We are very grateful to Matthew, who stepped in for an ill Yannick Nézet-Séguin at extremely short notice.

Reviewed by Geoff Diggines, Seen and Heard International:
‘Coorey, unlike many famous Mahler conductors, understands that Mahler wants a great adagio finale, but also one which is ‘restrained’ … Throughout this movement the LPO’s playing was impressively committed … . I shall certainly be looking out for more from Mr Coorey. Despite shortcomings in the other movements, this was an impressive Mahler 9. The excellent final adagio alone made this concert a musical event that I shall remember long into the future.’

Read earlier reviews of the concert here

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lpo.org.uk


Reviews: 28 March 2012 – Matthew Coorey & Lisa Batiashvili

March 30, 2012

On Wednesday 28 March, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with soloist/director Lisa Batiashvili, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 under conductor Matthew Coorey. We are very grateful to Matthew, who stepped in for an ill Yannick Nézet-Séguin at extremely short notice.

Reviewed by Colin Anderson, Classicalsource.com:
‘Coorey conjured a clear-sighted, well-versed account that was always going somewhere and which arrived there (climaxes blazed and the delicate intertwining of ‘chamber music’ solos was confident) … Best, probably, was the slow finale like the first movement persuasively paced, deeply felt without becoming mawkish and with the ‘string trio’ of Pieter Schoeman, David Marks and Kristina Blaumane exceptionally eloquent and heartfelt, the music’s increasing fragility and pausing well-managed to close a very creditable performance.’

Reviewed by James Potter, Bachtrack.com:
‘Batiashvili tapped into her background in quartet playing, which helped her to articulate the essential dynamic of any concerto: the interplay between solo and orchestra. She was alive to the musical impulses of the piece, communicating them with the orchestra but also sharing them with us, with characterful phrasing and effortless virtuosity.’

lpo.org.uk

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More reviews: 24 March 2012 – Sir Mark Elder, Ryan Wigglesworth, Roderick Williams and the LPC

March 27, 2012

On Saturday 24 March, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder performed Delius’s Sea Drift with the London Philharmonic Choir and baritone soloist Roderick Williams; Elgar’s Symphony No. 1; and the world première of The Discovery of Heaven by the Orchestra’s Composer in Residence Julian Anderson (conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth).

Reviewed by Andrew Clark, Financial Times:
‘The rest of the concert, conducted by Mark Elder, comprised Delius’s Sea Drift and Elgar’s First Symphony, the former distinguished by the excellent Roderick Williams in the baritone solo and by the exquisitely tuned London Philharmonic Choir.’

Reviewed by Christopher Gunning, Seen and Heard International:
‘[Sea Drift] emerged, beautiful as ever, in this sensitive performance, with Roderick Williams and Sir Mark Elder obviously loving every nuance. No less magical was the singing of the excellent London Philharmonic Choir.’

Earlier reviews here

Listen to our March 2012 podcast, in which Julian Anderson introduces The Discovery of Heaven.
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Reviews: 24 March 2012 – Sir Mark Elder, Ryan Wigglesworth, Roderick Williams and the LPC

March 26, 2012

On Saturday 24 March, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder performed Delius’s Sea Drift with the London Philharmonic Choir and baritone soloist Roderick Williams; Elgar’s Symphony No. 1; and the world première of The Discovery of Heaven by the Orchestra’s Composer in Residence Julian Anderson (conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth).

Reviewed by Colin Anderson, Classicalsource.com:
‘Elder paced the work [Sea Drift] perfectly, alive to its ebb and flow and its puffing and billowing … Roderick Williams’s honeyed baritone, effortless projection and impeccable enunciation bringing distinction to a 25-minute journey (so too Pieter Schoeman’s violin solos) that can seem unrelievedly sad (doom-laden bass drum strokes adding to the gloom) until spring-like consolation finally offers some hope. Whether Sea Drift is Delius’s masterpiece or not, this was a winning performance of it.’

Reviewed by Andrew Clements, The Guardian:
‘[The Discovery of Heaven] is a gripping journey in three movements, conducted superbly by Ryan Wigglesworth…’

Reviewed by Hilary Finch, The Times (not available online):
‘… This was all done with the artistry and assurance for which Anderson is renowned … What we heard was a brilliant response to a commission, conducted with authority and great clarity by Ryan Wigglesworth.’

Listen to our March 2012 podcast, in which Julian Anderson introduces The Discovery of Heaven.
lpo.org.uk
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More reviews: 22 February 2012 – Vladimir Jurowski, Joshua Bell and the LPC

February 27, 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 tenor Jeremy Ovenden and 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 Richard Fairman, The Financial Times:
‘The effect here under Jurowski’s precise direction was suitably rapturous.’

Reviewed by Claudia Pritchard, The Independent:
‘Above all it was the Philharmonic Choir on spectacular form that breathed life into the sensual and ecstatic text. With tumescent, fluorescent climaxes from the organ and orchestra under an impassioned Vladimir Jurowski, this sexy love song was positively X-rated.’

Reviewed by Christian Hoskins, MusicOMH.com:
‘Jurowski delivered a performance full of colour and ardour, with carefully balanced textures and riveting climaxes. There were notable contributions from tenor Jeremy Ovenden and orchestra leader Pieter Schoeman as well as first horn and first trumpet.’

Reviewed by Richard Whitehouse, Classicalsource.com:
‘Jurowski expertly managed the music’s surges of emotion without reining-in its dynamic power, while the contribution of the London Philharmonic Choir lacked nothing in commitment.’

Previous reviews of the concert here.

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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
Follow us on Twitter: @LPOrchestra


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