Violin and music

Violin and music

Concert Reviews

Aaron Parker/Beethoven/Mahler - Nikolaj Znaider/Rudolf Buchbinder

18 December 2014

Bachtrack, 19 Dec 2014
... the LSO players have an uncanny ability to maintain their tonal control even at the very loudest dynamics. The endings of the first, second and fourth movements were just stunning, not only for the raw energy, but for the way that the climaxes had been carefully prepared.
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Classical Source, 19 Dec 2014
The concert ended with Mahler’s First Symphony. It is no exaggeration to say that this was a superlative account, conducted by Znaider from memory, utterly gripping and involving from first bar to last. In the course of more than fifty years of concert-going and record-collecting I do not think I have heard a greater performance than this – equal, but none greater.
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The Magic and Majesty of Alexandre Desplat

11 December 2014

CultureFly, 12 Dec 2014
As the evening draws to a close, Desplat makes sure to save a little magic for the finale, ending on The Imitation Game, Harry Potter and his work in French cinema. The applause echoing through the Barbican is enthusiastic and well deserved.
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Brahms - Daniel Harding/Emanuel Ax

7 December 2014

Classical Source, 8 Dec
Harding kept all the checks and balances of orchestral splendor and chamber-music intimacy moving with tactful control, and the LSO’s playing was at its superlative, radiant best.
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Singapore & Australia Tour - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

17–30 November 2014

Melbourne, Arts Centre Melbourne: 28 November

Herald Sun, 1 Dec 2014
In the Classical Symphony of Prokofiev the strings particularly impressed. The exposed, stratospheric first-violin figures of the first movement were delicate but never tentative, and the impossibly quick finale was exhilarating for its sparkling precision.
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Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Dec 2014
... the body is finely honed with elegant, assertive strings and splendid first-desk personnel among the woodwind, notably the principal flute and oboe.
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Sydney, Sydney Opera House: 26 November

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Nov 2014
Demonic in quick music, musically absorbed in slow, he mesmerised the audience with his performance of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev with commanding concentration and incisiveness.
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Limelight Magazine, 27 Nov 2014
... this was Gergiev and his wonderful band setting up their stall in spectacular fashion under 33-year-old leader Roman Simovic
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Sydney, Sydney Opera House: 25 November

Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Nov 2014
The most impressive element, however, was their responsiveness. Getting 100 people to play as one is hard. Getting them to change direction, or speed, or mood, on a dime, is quite extraordinary. At times it felt like they were making it up as they went along, changing pace on a whim, and yet I struggled to hear a single note out of place.
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Limelight Magazine, 26 Nov 2014
[Shostakovich Symphony No 10] is a Gergiev speciality and the LSO’s performance last night could probably not have been bettered anywhere on the planet.
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Sydney, Sydney Opera House: 24 November

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Nov 2014
It was in moments like the second theme of the third movement, that the deep cohesion and unanimity of the LSO's strings shone through, while the finale rejoiced in shrill swagger from the clarinet and raucous percussion.
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Bachtrack, 25 Nov 2014
Right from the opening chord, every phrase, every entry, every musical question and its response was presented in a phenomenally translucent way, heard like this only on rare occasions – not only in Australian concert halls but anywhere around the world.
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Limelight Magazine, 25 Nov 2014
[Prokofiev Symphony No 5] is one of the few dozen or so genuinely great symphonies of the 20th century and Gergiev and LSO gave the most powerful and intense performances I’ve ever heard.
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The Daily Telegraph, 25 Nov 2014
piano, strings and brass (including a show-stopping trumpet solo) all shone as they teased out the cruelty and pain in the sad tale of the puppet Petrushka
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Brisbane, Queensland Performing Arts Centre: 22 November 2014

The Australian, 24 Nov 2014
...so searing was the orchestral sound, so thrilling the sense that everyone, right to the back desks of the strings, was playing for their lives.
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Singapore, The Esplanade: 20 November 2014

The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2014
Gergiev broke the mould with comfortable tempos for the first three movements, and a brisk but unhurried finale. The finesse and obvious ability of all the musicians made for a polished performance
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Singapore, The Esplanade: 19 November 2014

The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2014
The rousing brass fanfare was followed by a series of impressive solo runs from the woodwinds, establishing the tenor of the work, which flourished on its fast-paced and high-octane delivery.
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Balakirev/Rachmaninov - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

Tue 11 Nov 2014

Bachtrack, 12 Nov
Under Gergiev’s burning gaze, the LSO carved out a searing Rachmaninov Third Symphony that almost left scorch marks on the Barbican Hall’s wood panelling.
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Classical Source, 12 Nov
This was Gergiev and the LSO at their finest, performing music by his great fellow-countryman with extraordinary insight and technical command, passionate yet never overdone.
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Elgar/Beethoven/Sally Beamish - Gianandrea Noseda/Nelson Freire/Shuna Sendall/Marcus Farnsworth

Sun 2 Nov 2014

The Observer, 9 Nov
The choruses, terrifically delivered by the London Symphony Chorus, range from hymn-like to snarling. If the work continues the musical line stretching from Elgar’s Gerontius to Britten’s War Requiem, no one should complain.
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Sunday Times, 9 Nov
Simon Halsey had trained the chorus to a high incisiveness. And the orchestra gave, as it always does, everything it had to the score - one that stood out for absolute clarity of effect, harmonic control, professionalism of every kind.
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The Times, 4 Nov
The score is cunningly and energetically crafted ... the music is by turns impassioned, brittle, ironic and enraptured.
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Financial Times, 3 Nov
Beamish has paced Equal Voices skilfully and the work feels less than its 50 minutes. But it is ultimately the poetry that packs the punch. Gianandrea Noseda conducted the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra in a tightly-controlled performance.
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The Guardian, 3 Nov
Then for something utterly, exhilaratingly different came Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, played with such astonishing freshness, clarity and unfussy poetry by Nelson Freire, that it seemed as if he and we in the audience were discovering it all over again.
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Classical Source, 3 Nov
The most successful aspect of Equal Voices was the urgent reportage style of Marcus Farnsworth’s vivid singing. He released the bite of Motion’s poetry with compelling drama, and there was a similar immediacy to the short, dour, impressionist orchestral interludes that occur through the work’s five sections.
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London Evening Standard, 3 Nov
Sally Beamish’s new commission, Equal Voices, proved an ambitious, moving commemoration of the centenary of the First World War... the final section, with its epic sweep and spiritual uplift, soared onto a new level.
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The Telegraph, 3 Nov
In the end it was the naïve fervour of the Elgar which actually lingered in the mind. That, and something which had nothing whatever to do with the First World War; a wonderful, glowing performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto from Nelson Freire.
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Debussy/Mozart/Brahms - Bernard Haitink/Mitsuko Uchida

Thu 30 Oct 2014

Bachtrack, 2 Nov
No gimmicks, no concern for what might be currently fashionable, just honesty, integrity and a tangible reverence for the music.
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Classical Source, 31 Oct
Supple strings and woodwinds also played their part in achieving a dynamic, fluid musical argument... in an account as close to definitive as one is likely to encounter in a concert-hall today.
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Boulezian, 31 Oct
Brahms’s final symphony – there is none greater since Beethoven – was renewed, reinvigorated, tragic in every proper sense.
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The Artsdesk, 31 Oct
Haitink can do what very few other conductors in the world achieve without fuss. He makes the opening string sighs instantly take wing; he lifts their big moment of heartease and handles the time-standing-still mystery between development and recap like no other interpreter.
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Mahler - Daniel Harding

Sun 26 Oct 2014

musicOMH, 30 Oct
The daringly slow and hushed interpretation of the coda was rewarded by the quietest audience I’ve ever heard.
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The Times, 28 Oct
The LSO at full tilt is a terrifying, glamorous beast
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Classical Source, 27 Oct
The LSO played to its highest standard – which is saying something – but the honours go to Harding, whose handling of the work was masterly.
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Bachtrack, 27 Oct
The LSO players, as expected, sounded marvellous... the final notes were followed by a silence that lasted seemingly forever – a fitting response to a truly remarkable performance.
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The Guardian, 27 Oct
This was not, Harding seemed determined to assert, the music of a man whose life was closing in on him. There was even more of that take in the darker rondo-burlesque third movement, fabulously played by the LSO, where the manic defiance had tremendous life and spirit.
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Bruckner - Bernard Haitink

Thu 23 Oct 2014

London Evening Standard, 24 Oct
And for the privilege of experiencing this towering masterpiece in the hands of one of the great conductors of the day, one can only be profoundly thankful.
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The Guardian, 24 Oct
It was quite simply a privilege to hear such Brucknerian mastery at work.
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Classical Source, 24 Oct
All told, however, there are few conductors or orchestras capable of doing equal justice to Bruckner today, and this LSO/Haitink partnership provided yet another overwhelming experience.
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Bachtrack, 24 Oct
And the ending was spectacular, the coda carefully shaped and graded to prepare the brass-emblazoned chords in the final bars. Haitink was in his element here, giving us a triumphant and glorious conclusion.
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musicOMH, 24 Oct

Magnificent, moving and memorable – these are the first three adjectives that spring to mind when describing this thrilling performance of Bruckner’s momentous 8th Symphony, played with complete assurance by the LSO under the magisterial baton of Bernard Haitink.
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Panufnik/Schumann/Strauss - Sir Antonio Pappano/Piotr Adnerszewski

Sun 19 Oct 2014

The Guardian, 22 Oct
The brilliance of it all lay in Pappano’s refusal to see Strauss's score as the last word in self-referential irony, and to remind us that its emotions, its pride, anger and beauty, are genuine and run deep.
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The Times, 22 Oct
The LSO's sharp perfection helped the piece to make its mark. So did the enthusiasm of Antonio Pappano, who tore into its geometrically conceived structures with the epxressive glee of someone conducting a romantic masterpiece.
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Financial Times, 21 Oct
Pappano’s “hero” was rugged, outgoing, super-confident, striding forwards in playing that was consistently red-blooded. Not much light and shade, not much elegance, but this was a hero whose victory over his critics was never in doubt.
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The Telegraph, 20 Oct
Antonio Pappano may have been conducting Panufnik for the first time, yet he seemed completely attuned to the score’s autumnal tone and he drew a performance of warm intensity.
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Bachtrack, 20 Oct
The outrageous over-the-top mock histrionics of Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben was given the Rolls Royce treatment by Pappano and the LSO.
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Classical Source, 20 Oct
‘The Hero’ had ardour and panache, archly undercut by the ‘Adversaries’ (its intricate textures finely delineated by LSO brass and woodwind), before leader Roman Simovic brought intransigence then consolation to the ‘Companion’ episode which almost managed not to outstay its welcome.
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Ravel/Bartók/Tchaikovsky - Sir Antonio Pappano/Janine Jansen

Thu 16 Oct 2014

Classical Source, 16 Oct
There was much to enjoy musically, though... the opening ‘Kingdom of Sweets’ scene (unexpected!) was rapturous, and later there was no lack of power, passion and colour; plenty of suave characterisation, too.
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Bachtrack, 16 Oct
The scherzo-like second movement suited Jansen perfectly, alternating between powerfully aggressive and slower, almost melancholic, sections. Though it wasn’t always pretty, her sheer passion and intensity impressed; certainly a powerhouse reading of one of the most demanding concertos in the repertoire.
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Dukas/Beethoven/Rimsky-Korsakov - Rafael Payare/Elisabeth Leonskaja

Thu 9 Oct 2014

The Times, 13 Oct
The fantasy tales were told with a long-sighted vision of what held them together. And this performance was a chance to be treated to the solo playing of the LSO’s leader, Gordan Nikolitch, and that of principal cello, Tim Hugh, too. Delicious clarinet and bassoon solos gurgled their way through Payare’s rolling seascapes.
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Bachtrack, 10 Oct
After a slightly shaky opening few bars, Payare brought out a taut performance, brimming with confidence and enjoyment.
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Classical Source, 9 Oct
...this was a fresh, respectful yet individual interpretation, thought-through and full of Eastern Promise, with the third-movement ‘The Young Prince and the Young Princess’ beautifully serene and eloquently turned.
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Mendelssohn/Schumann - Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Gautier Capuçon

Thu 2 Oct 2014

Classical Source, 3 Oct 
The fearsome power which Gardiner and the LSO wrought in the first movement’s development was carried over into the scherzo, instilling the latter with considerable vigour and weight, as though trying to make its apparent frivolity at one with the work at large.
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Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

Tue 23 Sep 2014

The Observer, 28 Sep
The second concert, last Tuesday (also broadcast live on Radio 3), opened energetically with the LSO strings nimble and fearless in Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony No 1 – sounding easy, though in truth full of technical treachery.
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Sunday Times, 28 Sep
His formidable virtousity was called on, not so much in the name of diabolical ingenuity as of sheer splendour – cascades of shattering octaves, glorious armfuls of notes, a sizzling rhythmic display... It was fascinating to hear this work again. And the account of Prokofiev's mighty, somehow celebratory Fifth was outstanding in every way.
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Classical Source, 24 Sep
In the right music – as here – Gergiev and the LSO are well-nigh invincible. On this form the LSO has nothing to fear from any other orchestra.
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Tishchenko/Prokofiev/Shostakovich - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

Sun 21 Sep 2014

The Times, 23 Sep
From the grimacing chuckles of Rachel Gough's bassoon to Andrew Marriner's softly devastating clarinet, Gergiev harnessed the skill of his players and built up the churning textures to explosive heights.
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The Guardian, 22 Sep
Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony threw the spotlight in turn on to a dozen outstanding solo players in the LSO’s wind and brass. Gergiev’s ability to pace and sustain the long climaxes in this composer’s symphonies remains exemplary, and the second movement went at a brutal, exhilarating gallop.
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The Telegraph, 22 Sep
All the ballast came at the end in the guise of Shostakovich’s Tenth, played with a mix of brooding intensity and blistering attack.
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Financial Times, 22 Sep
Matsuev was born with 10 hammers where other people have fingers and his performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 caught him at his most virtuoso, fast, furious and percussive, forging industrial music at fever pitch.
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London Evening Standard, 22 Sep
Gergiev also gave us the real thing: Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, big, bold and blatant when it needed to be, but also exuding refined pungency.
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