Violin and music

Violin and music

Concert Reviews

Pärt/Britten/Shostakovich - Osmo Vänskä/Gil Shaham

The Times, 15 April 2015
Shaham's Bach encore, the gavotte from the E Major Partita, dispatched with characterful precision and a delicious, dancing thrust. We need more playing like that.
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The Guardian, 14 April 2015
This was a performance of engaged eloquence and powerful expressivity that explored the darkness within the score and its hints of both insecurity and aggression. Shaham was technically impeccable, also drawing on a range of colour to encompass the music's needs while being vividly supported by Vänskä and the LSO players.
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Classical Source, 12 April 2015
In many ways the combination of Gil Shaham, Osmo Vänskä and the LSO was of dream-team status... Shaham’s sheer delight in the music and in the act of music-making had a heart-on-sleeve sincerity to which resistance was futile.
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Shostakovich/Liszt - Gianandrea Noseda/Leonidas Kavakos

The Financial Times, 11 April 2015
At all points he [Kavakos] put the music before showmanship, or any temptation to over-adorn the lines. The bareness of the Nocturne's conclusion raised goose bumps. Even when the piece makes insane technical demands... there is no hint of self-congratulatory flashiness. Only a sense of relentless momentum, matter-of-fact and mechanical, and all the more chilling for it.
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The Times, 10 April 2015
We listened in awe... Magic happens each time he [Noseda] appears with the LSO.
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The Guardian, 9 April 2015
He [Kavakos] plays it, however, like one born to it, with every technical challenge fearlessly met and the emotional trajectory unwaveringly delineated. This was one of Noseda’s finest Shostakovich interpretations, too – lean and sparse, yet at times dauntingly intense.
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The Independent, 9 April 2015
Kavakos and conductor Gianandrea Noseda whipped up a demonic storm. And if Kavakos’s way with the Passacaglia was masterly, what he did with his long cadenza even took the LSO leader’s breath away – and he too is no slouch as a virtuoso.
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Classical Source, 8 April 2015
The fiddle series could not have got off to a better start than with this outstanding account of Shostakovich No.1 featuring Leonidas Kavakos. From the first bar we were compelled by brooding intensity, Kavakos totally focussed, albeit as the isolated figure that the music dictates if at times screaming an individual’s plight, so too the LSO and Gianandrea Noseda, inside the music to a hypnotic degree.
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USA West Coast Tour - Michael Tilson Thomas/Yuja Wang

17 March - 3 April 2015

San Diego, Jacobs Music Centre - 29 March 2015

U-T San Diego, 30 March 2015
This is a virtuoso ensemble able to play in any musical language. Its sound was generally grounded in deep, rich sonorities that enhanced the character of the Britten, provided a strong foundation for the Sibelius, and added color to the Gershwin.
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Santa Barbara, Granada Theatre - 25 March 2015

Santa Barbara Independent, 30 March 2015
Thomas threaded the needle beautifully. In his hands, the music expressed not happiness per se, but rather the struggle to find happiness. Like pretty much every moment of this memorable concert, it seemed precisely right.
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Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall - 24 March 2015

Los Angeles Times, 25 March 2015
...the expansive climaxes and sharp thrusts of the "Four Sea Interludes" from Britten's "Peter Grimes" rolled vibrantly through the room... broadly paced, carefully contoured and wonderfully sweeping, emphasizing the introspective darkness in the brass and stinging dissonances in the detail. The musicians sounded formidable.
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San Francisco, Davies Symphony Hall - 22 & 23 March 2015

The Bay Area Reporter, 4 April 2015
The large program hit the ground running and never let up until, after encores, a happy and exhausted crowd was bid good night two-and-a-half-hours later. MTT and the LSO, not to mention the youthful guest soloist Yuja Wang, could probably have gone on longer. It was just that kind of a party.
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San Francisco Classical Voice, 25 March 2015 
This is at least the third time I’ve heard MTT conduct this symphony, and each time he’s taken the finale differently. He’s a versatile and thoughtful conductor with at least two excellent orchestras at his command.
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Seen and Heard International, 25 March 2015 
In the Gershwin Concerto, Wang got things off to a crackling start with cascades of octave runs, and never let up. The pianist’s vitality with the disparate themes and elements of the opening movement gave way to a perfectly moody, bluesy slow movement, enhanced by Cobb’s deliciously filthy trumpet solo.
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Orange County Register, 25 March 2015 
The orchestra performed the score’s engaging jazz, ragtime and blues with just enough flexibility, while offering plenty of color. And the LSO’s principal trumpet, Philip Cobb, seemed a natural for Gershwin’s sultry solo writing, which opens the central Adagio.
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SF Gate, 24 March 2015
Wang, meanwhile, delivered her customary blend of ferocious keyboard virtuosity and expressive richness in a pair of finely calibrated performances. The Shostakovich concerto found her paired with Philip Cobb, the orchestra’s excellent trumpeter, in a reading that was both saucy and tender.
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Examiner, 24 March 2015 
MTT conducted this Shostakovich symphony with the broadest possible range of dynamic qualities, not only in the specific levels but also in the contours connecting them.... This was a reading that served up both the dramatic and the musical qualities in equally generous measures.
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New York, Avery Fisher Hall - 18 March 2015

Superconductor, 19 March 2015
...the powerful, emotional fourth movement was given a draining and wrenching performance by the LSO forces. As brass and strings rose to the mighty height of the final bars, conductor and ensemble triumphed.
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The New York Times, 19 March 2015
Much of the Sibelius heard at the moment is steely, frosty and concerned with structure more than overt emotionality. But the London Symphony learned its Sibelius from Colin Davis, and the warm sound he instilled in this orchestra was the perfect springboard for Mr. Thomas’s superheated, wildly impulsive view of the piece. Fiercely dramatic and often bellicose, this was less a symphony than an epic.
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ConcertoNet, 19 March 2015
Yuja Wang played Gershwin the way it should be played. It was a real concerto, but it had the melodies, the vast array of rhythms, the joy, the surprises which spoke for themselves.
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Britten/Shostakovich/Sibelius - Michael Tilson Thomas/Yuja Wang

15 March 2015

The Guardian, 17 March 2015
Wang rightly dominated, capturing the concerto's brittle charm and dashing off the finale at a reckless speed that the composer would have approved of.
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Classical Source, 15 March 2015
The elegance and economy with which the conductor sculpted phrasing and defined instrumental entries was a masterclass, and matched by playing of a special connectivity. The link from the Scherzo into the Finale was a triumph of expectation over hope, made all the more powerful for being able to hear just how precisely detail was released. For all its powerful expansiveness, this was a Sibelius 2 with a large-scale balance between tension and rock-like stability.
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Bachtrack, 16 March 2015
The performance of Sibelius’ Second Symphony was little short of extraordinary. Tempos were deliberate, rubatos generous and elastic bar lines were stretched every which way, but the LSO followed him keenly to give an electrifying account. I usually enjoy my Sibelius served with Nordic ice, but found this emotional alternative had a powerful draw.
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Evening Standard, 16 March 2015
Michael Tilson Thomas’s handling of Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes emphasised the storm’s violence and the scrunch of Suffolk shingle with salty textures and biting dissonances. It would have been too overwhelming as interludes for the opera, but in a concert had undeniable freshness. So too did his stark, stirring reading of Sibelius’s Second Symphony. 
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Colin Matthews/Gershwin/Shostakovich - Michael Tilson Thomas/Yuja Wang

12 March 2015

The Times, 17 March 2015
The London Symphony Orchestra gave their all to Colin Matthews’ exuberant Hidden Variables; Tilson Thomas duetted at the piano with Yuja Wang in a jazzy Poulenc encore after her glittering performance of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.
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Bachtrack, 14 March 2015
The quiet, unnerving music was delivered with such poignancy and emotional depth that it seemed to create a whole world of its own, transporting us from the concert hall into Shostakovich’s creation. The fourth movement brought us back down to earth with an exuberant finale that once again was exemplary of the energy and joy that Tilson Thomas and the LSO radiated throughout the evening.
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The Arts Desk, 13 March 2015
Tilson Thomas gave us his version of this much contested symphony, and it proved compelling, not least for the superlative orchestral performance. The LSO gave their best for him, just as they have for decades.
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The Daily Telegraph, 13 March 2015
Some conductors seize our attention through sheer charisma, others by mirroring the music’s emotional journey in their body language. Tilson Thomas does neither. He’s just a superb musician, who uses minimal, efficient gestures to reveal the logic of a piece with maximum clarity.
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Classical Source, 13 March 2015
This was as much the LSO’s accomplishment – orchestra, yes, but also turning on a sixpence to become a dance band and theatre ensemble – with details given a light touch, even such as the percussion-led opening and trombone glissandos, and Philip Cobb’s evocative trumpet solo in the middle movement was a Miles Davis moment.
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Brahms arr Schoenberg/Kodály/Leo Weiner/Traditional/Vladimir Cosma/John Williams/Csampi/Bihary - Kristjän Jarvi/Roby Lakatos/Roby Lakatos Ensemble

5 March 2015 

The Times, 10 March 2015 
Lakatos smiles whilst playing passages that would make most violinists cry, accompanied by guitar, piano, bass, second violin and cimbalom, all bite and snap and zing and bottomless pools of coppery, shivery chords. In the Kodály the LSO brass dazzled, Huw Morgan’s trumpet sounding heaven-sent. An encore of Monti’s Czárdás had Roman Simovic, the LSO’s concert-master, duel with Lakatos and the hall explode with applause.
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Debussy/Fauré/Duruflé - David Hill/Nicole Cabell/Kelley O'Connor/Duncan Rock/LSC

1 March 2015

The Observer, 8 March 2015
The Duruflé was revelatory... Each line was clear and incisive, the LSO chorus tenors in particularly impressive form in the great burst of colour that closes the Kyrie - and Hill's handling of the miraculous unfurling of the In Paradisum was a moment of pure ecstasy.
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The Times, 5 March 2015
The mezzo Kelley O'Connor offered soulful prayers in the Pie Jesu. The choir was melliflous and no smudges disturbed the last luminous glow as sopranos, harp, horn and hushed strings tiptoed us toward eternal rest. Curled up in my seat, I was content.
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The Guardian, 3 March 2015
The majestic choral singing was first rate and wonderfully majestic. O’Connor struck form in the Pie Jesu. Duncan Rock was the noble, hieratic baritone. Fauré’s Pelléas, meanwhile, beautifully shaped and textured, reminded us what a fine piece it is, and that we hear it all too infrequently.
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Bachtrack, 3 March 2015
In the well-known “Sicilienne” harp (Bryn Lewis) and flute (Gareth Davies) formed a winning partnership, and in the concluding “Death of Mélisande” Hill allowed no indulgence, urging the music forward always with an acute ear to instrumental balance.
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Seen and Heard International, 2 March 2015
The cool, clear tone of the ladies of the LSO Chorus was a particular delight... David Hill negotiated an eloquent path through the score, and both Nicole Cabell and Kelley O'Connor entered fully into the work's ethereal spirit.
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Classical Source, 1 March 2015
Once again, the London Symphony Chorus was on fine form in music whose often intricate translucency can all too easily become turgid if the balance between vocal registers, and with that of the orchestra, goes awry. That this was never an issue was a tribute to the expertise of chorus-director Simon Halsey.
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Balakirev/Glazunov/Rachmaninov - Valery Gergiev/Roman Simovic

19 February 2015

The Times, 23 February 2015
Simovic played with both physical and linguistic ease, guiding the bittersweet cadenza through to a rondo finale both rough-hewn and bucolic. Here was village fiddler turned virtuoso. Simovic gleefully took risks exceeded only in his chosen encore: the long and devilish transcription made by Nathan Milstein of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1. This brought the house down.
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Seen and Heard, 22 February 2015
This was clearly a well-rehearsed performance, the upper strings supremely together at speed, the brass a wall of magnificence. There was a Tchaikovskian depth of emotion to the long-breathed lines here, the dark side of the piece fully honoured in the first movement so that the Mendelssohnian flickerings of the second movement could make their full mark. The finale had a fascinating underlying joyous feel and a wonderful lyric outpouring. Rachmaninov surely dreamt of a performance such as this.
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Bachtrack, 20 February 2015
The soloist was Roman Simovic, familiar to audiences as the orchestra's leader since 2010. He is a stylish player with a sweet lyrical sound and his performance of the Glazunov was neatly self-contained. The slow section flowed beautifully... Milstein's transcription of themes from Liszt's Mephisto Waltz no. 1, allowed Simovic to display demonic virtuosity at greater length in an encore.
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Telegraph, 20 February 2015
Roman Simovic had a delightfully sweet-toned lyricism, and an easy, smiling virtuosity. It was just what was needed to reveal the charm in this somewhat earnest, solidly-crafted piece. In his encore, Simovic carried off a feat that on the face of it seems impossible; recreating the heroic piano pyrotechnics of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz no 1, on the four strings of a violin. He made it seem entirely natural.
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Classical Source, 20 February 2015
The Symphony was so finely interpreted, setting off different moods and characters in excellent fashion. The problematic opening viola bars in the Scherzo were also admirably solved, Gergiev's tempos throughout being wholly convincing, revealing the astonishing originality of this work to the full.
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Liszt/Mahler - Gianandrea Noseda/Alice Sara Ott

15 February 2015

The Sunday Times, 22 February 2015
Her [Alice Sara Ott] virtuosity was breathtaking, as was the disjunction between her slender, barefooted prescence and the simply feral assault she mounted on the instrument's bass register near the start. Her total command of this exhibitionistic though compelling music, along with Gianandrea Noseda's fiery Italianate conducting, made the performance treasurable.
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The Times, 18 February 2015
The playing was furiously intense and engaged, hard in on the heel of the bow, brutally heavy on the bass. Noseda's Sixth leaves little room to breathe, let along think. It is certainly arresting, this fast-boiling brew of feverish trills, vicious percussion, menacing brass and cimbalom-like confection of harp and cellos; less premonition of tragedies to come than a roar of fury at tragedies already visited.
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The Guardian, 17 February 2015
Noseda's approach - never indulgent, always rhythmically taut - perfectly conveyed the sense of its four-movement classical proportions, even with the orchestral apparatus such a vast one, and the music operating over such a span of time. 
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Seen and Heard, 17 February 2015
This evening of Liszt and Mahler was possibly the best purely orchestral concert I can ever remember! I do not have the words to descibe the Finale enough... Even though I knew what was coming the brass seemed to lull me into a false sense of security making the last fortissimo A minor full orchestra chord even more terrifying in its suddenness than I can ever remember hearing it before. It was as if I had glimpsed Mahler's soul.
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Telegraph, 16 February 2015
The soloist was Alice Sara Ott, who despite her sylph-like frame, made the military rodomontade of Liszt's piece ring out with heroic force.
The real challenge [of the Mahler] is the half-hour Finale. This has to recover from the two "hammer-blows" of fate, only to fall at the last, a narrative Noseda shaped with unerring skill.
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Bachtrack, 15 February 2015
Noseda never let the tension flag once in the long finale, driving on from climax to climax, undercut at each turn, the orchestra responding with vivid playing. A staggering, exhausting, high-octane performance.
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Classical Source, 15 February 2015
Her [Alice Sara Ott's] virtuosity, of the highest technical accomplishment, was always placed at the service of the music and the wide-ranging journey the Concerto undertakes. Ott additionally gave us great power and drive where necessary; in all, a very fine rendition, such as one rarely encounters in any music.
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Brennan/Berlioz/Tchaikovsky - Sir Mark Elder/Susan Graham

5 February 2015

Classical Source, 5 February 2015
Graham, in velvety voice, sang within herself but always with vividness and import, expressing from the heart the solitariness of lost love and such haunted images as a cemetery bathed in moonlight and doing so with a real feel for the eerily picturesque.
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The Guardian, 6 February 2015
... such a performance, full of carefully chiselled detail, made the case for the symphony as one of the great achievements of late Romanticism far better than any more histrionic one might have done.
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Bachtrack, 6 February 2015
Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony was given a powerhouse rendition which had many things to admire in it. Turbo-charged string playing, light-as-a-feather flutes and lacerating brass were all on aural display, yet it was the quiet playing which impressed most.
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Seen and Heard, 8 Feb 2015
The finale, blessed with superbly controlled strings, breathed beautifully without taking us to a place of absolute stillness. This was a thought-provoking reading to end a thought-provoking concert.
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Webern/Beethoven/Brahms - David Afkam/Nicholas Angelich

1 February 2015

Sunday Times Culture, 8 February 2015
The young German conductor David Afkam's Barbican account with the LSO of Brahms's Symphony No 2 was idiomatic, deeply felt and vigorous - altogether distinguished. 

Hosokawa/Ravel/Mahler - Robin Ticciati/Simon Trpceski/Karen Cargill

25 January 2015

Seen and Heard International, 26 January 2015
The whip crack that begins Ravel's G major concerto took us into a vastly different sound world. Simon Trpčeski and the orchestra played up the jazzy elements of the opening movement with a good deal of flair.
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The Guardian, 27 January 2015
If the Hosokawa glowed from within, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G positively glittered, thanks to pianist Simon Trpčeski, whose playing was witty, buoyant and always in cahoots with the orchestra.
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Seen and Heard, 26 January 2015
The LSO’s playing was superlative in every way, throughout the concert.
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Bachtrack, 26 January 2015
The quality of the LSO’s string sound is well known and loved, but in case anyone had forgotten, this work provided a splendid showcase for it: richness, lustre and precision dynamics.
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Classical Source, 26 January 2015
Ticciati's conducting was made the more impressive by his insistence on a wide gradation of dynamic, even down to ppp, and wonderfully observed, raising the stature of this very well-played performance by several cubits. Recently the LSO has given us truly memorable accounts of Mahler symphonies - the Ninth under Daniel Harding and the First from Nikolaj Znaider - and Ticciati's was fully in the same class.
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Verdi/Prokofiev/de Falla/Rimsky Korsakov - Xian Zhang/Valentina Lisitsa

18 January 2015

Financial Times, 20 January 2015
The overture to Verdi's La forza del destino hurtled to its fate. The Spanish dances in the second suite from Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat pounded the red-hot earth. Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol sizzles at full force in the midday heat.
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Seen and Heard, 19 January 2015
To close we heard Rimsky’s splendid Capriccio espagnol, an abandoned, bright and jolly display of the very first order. The piece is a splendid romp, and it was clear the orchestra enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.
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The Independent, 19 January 2015
This unashamedly showy work may be a mere parade of effects, but with live-wire direction from the Chinese conductor Xian Zhang, Lisitsa and the London Symphony Orchestra beat up an admirable storm. Zhang and Lisitsa seem made for each other.
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Classical Source, 19 January 2015 
...we were in good hands. Zhang’s conducting was intensely dramatic and appealingly lyrical in turn, and her intense rapport with the LSO was clear enough.
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Bachtrack, 19 January 2015
Zhang drew playing of such brio from the LSO... the ballet’s finale, found brass and percussion stamping out the rhythms, castanets employed enthusiastically.
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Webern/Berg/Ligeti/Stravinsky - Sir Simon Rattle/Barbara Hannigan

15 January 2015

The Express, 25 January 2015
The concert ended with Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Rattle and the LSO captured the primitive energy of the score, and the dark foreboding that leads to the final sacrifice. Unforgettable.
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The Sunday Times, 25 January 2015
The soprano Barbara Hannigan was the passionately assured soloist in a moving, thrilling evocation of the opera; and, tricked out as a saucy schoolgirl in white shirt and tartan miniskirt, she easily met Ligeti's madcap demands in Mysteries of the Macabre.
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musicOMH, 21 January 2015
Rattle led an assured and compelling interpretation, rich in colour and detail and achieving a terrifying climax in the fourth movement funeral march... Luxuriance of texture and intensity of emotion were the hallmarks of the performance of Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck that followed.
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The Times, 19 January 2015
The Webern was made to sound like Mahler taken to the next level: harmonically abrasive and orchestrally deconstructed, yet full of late romantic anguish made thrillingly vivid.
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The Daily Telegraph, 19 January 2015
Rattle, for his part, threw himself into the antics of Ligeti’s piece with gusto.
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The Observer, 18 January 2015
...he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra on Thursday in Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with a zest, fury and joy that stirred a thrilling sense of renewal in these dark days. In this, and in Webern’s haunting Six Pieces for Orchestra, the LSO’s playing was at once meticulous and, as required, explosive.
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Financial Times, 18 January 2015
As the second part unfolded its slow, atmopsheric introduction, Rattle seemed to plunge ever deeper into some far-distant world. The LSO players seconded him wholeheartedly, as they had all evening.
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Bachtrack, 18 January 2015
The LSO’s performance was absolutely stunning; they not only played it faultlessly, but managed to convey the emotional depth of the Six Pieces convincingly.
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Classical Source, 16 January 2015
He brought the Pieces alive, the LSO confident of every colour, nuance and dovetailing phrase... from suspenseful shadows to a seismic and desperate climax, and then a shocking silence in its aftermath.
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Schumann - Sir Simon Rattle

11 January 2015 

The Sunday Times, 25 January 2015
Impassioned contributions from everyone involved... and the soprano Sally Matthews in the title role shatteringly resplendent. Mark Padmore was a fiercely eloquent Narrator, the LSO Chorus a potent force.
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The Times, 13 January 2015
Rattle polished up these jewels to a glittering shine.
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The Guardian, 13 January 2015
Mark Padmore was a model of clarity as the narrator, Bernarda Fink her usual unfussy, perfectly poised self as the Angel, while having Kate Royal, Andrew Staples and Florian Boesch (spellbinding in his aria at the beginning of the third part) as the other soloists made for a luxury lineup.
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Classical Music Magazine, 12 January 2015
In Rattle’s hands, the work leapt forward, lithe and wary... the male chorus exploded with shocking force, evoking war and ‘rivers of blood’. Even their English consonants couldn’t dampen the seething energy chorus master Simon Halsey had inspired from them.
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The Telegraph, 12 January 2015
...he drew refined playing from the strings and winds especially. The LSO hasn’t often played with such cultivation recently.
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The Independent, 12 January 2015
Rattle and co gave it the best possible airing, with Mark Padmore as the narrator, Sally Matthews as the Peri, and a first-class line-up of subsidiary soloists.
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London Evening Standard, 12 January 2015
Sally Matthews as the Peri fully engaged our sympathies for the resourceful spirit, capturing alike her plaintive entreaties and her vibrant exultation at the prospect of redemption.
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The Arts Desk, 12 January 2015
But best of all was Rattle himself... technically, his conducting was flawless, and his ability to negotiate Schumann’s often abrupt transitions gave the piece a sense of flow it may otherwise have lacked. His communication with the musicians is direct and powerful, the result more of a shared passion than of any histrionics at the podium. 
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Classical Source, 12 January 2015
The classical-sized LSO (with five double basses) was at its elegant best in Schumann’s luminous orchestration, and Rattle’s empathy with the work’s symphonic weight and song-like intimacy transcended its sentimental origin.
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Opera Brittania, 12 January
Rattle carefully marshalled these forces: his ear for balance remains as keen as ever, and there were some ravishing examples of phrase and hushed dynamic. But what really impressed anew was his ability simply – simply! – to enable a performance, rather than impose one.
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Bachtrack, 12 January 2015
The music in Parts III and IV continued to be full of melody and full of contrasts, Rattle's sense of pace and balance continued to display the LSO at their very best.
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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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LSO On Film: 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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The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition

8 December 2014

Evening Standard
Classical Source
Classical Music Magazine
New York Times
Music Times

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 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

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