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Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle, Barbican

Simon Rattle Berlin PhilharmonicSimon Rattle’s Sibelian journey has been long and fruitful and has taken him all the way from Birmingham to Berlin and more particularly the revered Philharmonic where the spaces between the notes now resonate in extraordinary ways and the bass lines are sunk deeper than with any other orchestra on the planet. Beginning their London … [Read More]

Posted on 11/02/2015
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

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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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

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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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

The Bjork of the lieder world

Helena JuntunenI first came across Helena Juntunen in an Osmo Vanska concert at the South Bank. She sang Sibelius – and she sang it with such engagement and power, such rapture, that I came out at the interval telling anyone who’d listen that I was hopelessly captivated. Who was she, where had she come from, where … [Read More]

Posted on 11/09/2012
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Posted in Asides

Prom 63: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rattle – Review *****

It was, without doubt, the most breathtaking musical segue of this or any other Prom season and it unlocked a programme with Simon Rattle’s musical intellect written all over it. First came the cosmic vibrations of Ligeti’s Atmosphères where the Berlin Philharmonic’s famed pianissimi made silence almost indistinguishable from sound and where such were the … [Read More]

Posted on 31/08/2012
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Posted in Classical Music, Reviews

Prom 5: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Mena, Royal Albert Hall – review

Beginning and ending in C major – but only just (Sibelius’ 7th Symphony is the most equivocal C major in music) – this BBC Philharmonic Prom under their new Chief Conductor Juanjo Mena began by reasserting that there is really only one concert hall in the world which Strauss’ philosophic variations – or much ado … [Read More]

Posted on 18/07/2012
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Prom 9: Hallé Orchestra, Elder, Royal Albert Hall

Homecomings, real and imagined, marked out this season’s Hallé Prom. For Sibelius, brazen horn fanfares and myriad string ostinati carried us at the gallop to the heart of the Finnish heartlands. Everything in his rarely performed Scènes historiques – Suite No.2  is seen, or rather heard, with absolute clarity. We are a long way from … [Read More]

Posted on 22/07/2011
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Posted in Reviews

London Symphony Orchestra, Jarvi, Barbican Hall

The Scandinavians were coming: Nielsen and Grieg had tall tales to tell and Sibelius’s Violin Concerto had promised the über-virtuosic Julia Fischer. But the German never arrived, an accident in her kitchen resulting in an eleventh hour call for a replacement. That call was answered in true “local hero” fashion by the London Symphony Orchestra’s … [Read More]

Posted on 08/04/2011
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