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London Philharmonic/ Russian National Orchestras, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall **** (Review)

The heady symbolism of the London Philharmonic and Russian National orchestras sitting cheek by jowl for the climax of Vladimir Jurowski’s War and Peace series was a powerful one and if, on occasions, the melding of these two excellent orchestras resulted in rather less than complete symbiosis musically speaking, the section by section acknowledgement of … [Read More]

Posted on 08/10/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choruses, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall **** (Review)

Working backwards from Rachmaninov’s Choral Symphony “The Bells” Vladimir Jurowski’s latest confection in the new London Philharmonic season was an extraordinary resourceful and cleverly juxtaposed sequence of tintinnabulations, real and imagined, actual and suggested, celebratory and mournful – the ringing that in all cases evaporates into silence.

Miaskovsky’s Silentium (a UK premiere) was central, descending … [Read More]

Posted on 30/09/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall *** (Review)

Opera with and without words, with and without voices – the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s new season began with a typically provocative piece of Vladimir Jurowski programming: an intriguing juxtaposition of the ripest Strauss and Zemlinsky affording dissatisfaction in just about equal measure but for very different reasons.

Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s fantastical operatic allegory Die Frau [Read More]

Posted on 27/09/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

The International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, Royal Festival Hall

A showcase for three young conductors, a malfunction at the printers, and for the first time in my experience no programmes for the audience and the prospect of blind-tasting their talents. Now there’s a thought – no names revealed, no information on their pedigree, and no knowledge of who was conducting what until we’d heard … [Read More]

Posted on 14/04/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony – the 9th – poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.

There are those who insist that the great Catholic symphonist had completely sketched and all but scored the final movement – but attempts to stitch together a performing version have … [Read More]

Posted on 05/02/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

As curator of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s ongoing Prokofiev series Vladimir Jurowski has striven to highlight the paradoxes which serve to make him the most contradictory of composers. He’s fielding oddities, he’s bowling googlies – none more so than Symphonic Song Op.57. When did anyone last hear this curiosity, if ever, and was there … [Read More]

Posted on 19/01/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vedernikov, Royal Festival Hall

The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s intriguing new Prokofiev series is entitled “Man of the People?” and the enigma is all in the question mark. Beginning at the end with the last of his symphonies, the 7th, was far from arbitrary. This is a piece about enchantment where childhood fairy-tales are revisited from an adulthood of compromised … [Read More]

Posted on 14/01/2012
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Fleming, Eschenbach, Royal Festival Hall

With Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture raising the curtain, so to speak, Renée Fleming arrived like Venus in a soufflé of black and bronze layered chiffon. Or to be more in keeping with the Strauss Four Last Songs she was about to sing, a gown fit for a Countess. No one makes an entrance or wears a … [Read More]

Posted on 15/12/2011
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall

Two perfect works in perfect equilibrium; Mozart and Mahler well met indeed. But even as the violin and viola soloists separated from the opening tutti of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat in perfectly symmetrical octaves it was evident that the conductor for the evening – the gifted Yannick Nézet-Séguin – might have a slightly different … [Read More]

Posted on 20/02/2011
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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

The Austro-Hungarian connection loomed large but it was the Hungarian bloodline which bound this typically shrewd Vladimir Jurowski programme – and out of the Trannsylvanian twilight came Peter Eötvös like a latterday Bartok.

Shadows owes much to the memory of his great Hungarian predecessor reflecting on the febrile “night music” which became such a feature … [Read More]

Posted on 27/01/2011
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