Blog Archives

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms 2013Music lovers invariably divide into two faction over the Brahms piano concertos: those who thrill to the elemental D minor and those who prefer to bask in the more reflective charms of the sumptuous B-flat Second Concerto. I’m a D minor man myself, secretly convinced that the four-movement Second would prove a far more startling … [Read More]

Posted on 20/11/2014
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London Philharmonic, Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

Vasily PetrenkoVasily Petrenko used his baton like a piratical rapier to galvanise the London Philharmonic violins in their flourishes of derring-do at the start of Berlioz’ Overture Le Corsaire. And the brilliance was in the quicksilver contrasts, the lightness and wit of inflection which lent a piquancy to the panache of this great concert opener. … [Read More]

Posted on 22/02/2014
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Adams “El Nino”, Royal Festival Hall

During the momentous last century – so richly contextualised in the South Bank’s The Rest is Noise festival – there were two points at which factions within the musical establishment sought to step back, take stock, and clean house of their complex and ever more elaborate excesses. There was Schoenberg with his 12-tone disciplines imagining … [Read More]

Posted on 15/12/2013
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Britten “War Requiem”, London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

Vladimir Jurowski and London Philharmonic OrchestraBritten’s innate theatricality shines through every single bar of his War Requiem. Atmosphere, drama, suspense, and high emotionalism is to a greater or lesser degree written into the piece (something which the naysayers always latch on to). And yet, with its planes of sound so precisely appropriated there is an acoustical part to be … [Read More]

Posted on 13/10/2013
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Briefly… Peter Grimes, London Philharmonic, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

I think we can now say with absolute certainty that Stuart Skelton is the pre-eminent Peter Grimes of the present time. Just as Peter Pears originated the role for a whole generation and Jon Vickers redefined it and Philip Langridge made us re-think it, so Skelton has become Grimes, reconciling the bluff fisherman with the … [Read More]

Posted on 29/09/2013
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Prom 64: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vavic, Jurowski, Royal Albert Hall (Review)

Legends, myths, and Nietzsche’s Superman – which for the purposes of this London Philharmonic Prom was none other than Vladimir Jurowski himself. His extraordinary ear, his nurturing and layering of texture, was a constant source of intrigue and delight and at least one performance – that of Sibelius’ tone poem Pohjola’s Daughter – was revelatory … [Read More]

Posted on 31/08/2013
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hannigan, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

Barbara HanniganVladimir Jurowski deemed this the most challenging of any programme in the South Bank’s year long The Rest is Noise festival and proceeded to tell us precisely why. That his little preamble lasted almost twice as long as the first piece – Webern’s Variations for Orchestra Op.30 – was an indicator of just how scientific … [Read More]

Posted on 28/04/2013
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Elder, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

The natural logic of this heady mix of first and second Viennese utterances was turned on its head with Webern’s early tone poem Im Sommerwind opening like a breathy premonition of the autumnal second song of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. Pantheism ruled as Mark Elder and the London Phiharmonic Orchestra, through a … [Read More]

Posted on 24/01/2013
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mattila, Hampson, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

A single bottom C sunk deeper than even the deepest underground trains running so audibly below the Royal Festival Hall was the auspicious start to the South Bank Centre’s much anticipated festival “The Rest is Noise”. Forget Hamlet’s famous last words, when Zarathustra has spake the sound resonates through an eternity of silence.

Alex Ross’ … [Read More]

Posted on 20/01/2013
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tetzlaff, Vänskä, Royal Festival Hall (Review)

Some symphonies are natural curtain-raisers: Sibelius’ Third is one. Music began with rhythm and in this piece the cellos are the distant drummers who bring us back to basics with their curt opening measures. Osmo Vänskä clipped the rhythms are kept them on a tight rein – because he knows how this piece goes, how … [Read More]

Posted on 01/11/2012
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