Reviews: Bruckner Symphony 8 and Rautavaara

October 24: Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Bruckner’s Symphony No 8 and Rautavaara’s Incantations (world premiere with percussion soloist Colin Currie).

Hilary Finch in The Times reviewed the concert:

On the first anniversary of his appointment as principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic, the young Montreal-born conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin directed a performance of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony that exuberantly confirmed what an asset he is to London’s musical life.

From the first bars, he was reactivating the nerves and innermost fibres of the music: making us feel as though we were hearing that mysterious, circling bass theme, and those characteristic Brucknerian triplets and little cadential turns, for the first time. The LPO, too, seemed to be relishing newly minted music — imagining those plangent and elemental bird cries, experiencing that sense of rising sap as never before.

And Martin Kettle in the Guardian:

Rautavaara’s concerto is dominated by a resplendent opening orchestral fanfare, which returns at the work’s close. The solo part is not, as one had feared, a massive crash-bang-wallop drum extravaganza, but a delicate and luminous invention of great expressiveness, with the marimba and vibraphone carrying much of the solo writing. Colin Currie’s athletic playing was as dazzling and persuasive as the work itself.


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