Tue 21 Dec 2010 - Mullova/Gardiner
Unlike Mr Jacob, I was grateful to JEG for not feeling it necessary to 'speechify' before the performance of the Mendelssohn but the only reason I am inflicting my views here is to say the he is certainly not shy od speaking to the audience, having heard him do so many times, perhaps he just thought it would be fun to let us come to our own conclusions!
I too was sorry that the composer of Ms Mullova's cadenzas was not revealed to us in the programme and jumped to the, probably wrong, conclusion she provided them herself.
A very enjoyable concert. Surprised to see mullova read from a score as it was one of the major concertos but it did not spoil the concerto. Interesting to see the basses/cellos move to the other side for the mendelsohn symphony and for the violins to stand (noticed some of the violinists stretching their legs at the end) not sure if sir john took the symphony too fast.
The performance of the Mendelssohn was wonderful. It would be interesting to hear from individual string players how playing standing up made a difference for them.
I have been saying for a while that an LSO cycle of the Schumann Symphonies and maybe also his concertos and other works is long overdue. Of course you need one or more conductors who can really show us what great compositions they are.
Gardiner is a great Schumann conductor - so here's hoping.
Tuesday’s concert was certainly intriguing: the reversion to a C19-20th layout was of itself interesting, but I thought the main surprise was the use of seven double basses, a number equal to the strength of the cellos. That noted it worked….it certainly laid a solid ground bass!! Brought up on the Cantelli/NBC miraculous performance I cannot say I enjoyed the furious pace of the first movement not even LSOs nibble strings could articulate the themes at that speed. And, forgive a slight disappointment, where were all the Principals, very unusually no Andrew nor Rachel, no Gordon and no Paul…..lets just hope to hear them in the New Year!
For the first time in a concert-going life spanning 40 years, I experienced last night a symphony performed with violins and violas standing. It was an excellent performance, but a massively missed opportunity to break down the barrier between audience and stage. Why did John Eliot Gardiner not talk to us and explain why he was adopting this practice? It would have added to the enjoyment and removed a question that everyone around me was discussing. And, incidentally, why did the programme not state which cadenzas Viktoria Mullova was playing in the Beethoven? Okay, it's a bit nerdy, but would still expect a programme to convey that information, as well as deal with the standing novelty.
I'm sure you're aware of Alex Ross's Wigmore Hall lecture earlier in the year when he talked about ways of returning 'classical' music to informality and audience involvement. The audience last night did its bit by applauding the first movements of both the Beethoven and the Mendelssohn. Why not go a bit further and have the conductor explain why he's doing what's he's doing (not just the standing, but the split violins, central cellos and basses on the left in the first half)? Or if Gardiner is too shy, someone else.
Isn't it time to invite the audience into your performances rather than walk on, play, and walk off? I think it would be much appreciated.
Wed 15 Dec 2010 - Midori/Pappano
For me, Midori is a frustrating soloist. Her sound projection is too small, even for the Barbican. Looking sometimes as if she is over-striving for more volume, her mannerisms such as foot stamping and head bowed constantly to the floor are off-putting. I found the performance of the beautiful Bruch concerto unattractive, coarse even at times in the last movement. Sorry.
But otherwise the concert was superb with Pappano, clearly a carefully prepared conductor for every detail, yet maintaining an overall direction, getting the very best out of the LSO. Roman Simovic's important solo part was magical and awe-inspiring and I had the irreverent thought that maybe we should have had him doing the Bruch.
Congratulations to Pappano for both his December programmes in that they contain an "overture", something written this century and a crowd-pleasing finale.
Would that all the LSO programmes were planned like these two. For a start, please let's have Sir Colin doing Berlioz overtures for his concerts.
David & Linda White
This was one of the best programs we have attended at the Barbican, I enjoyed all three pieces. Beautifully orchestrated and performed. Excellent.
Thu 9 Dec 2010 - Trpceski/Pappano
Thank you. It was a wonderful concert, the Rachmaninov and Arvo Part being the high points for us. Well done to all the players!
With an overture, a concerto, a fascinating modern work probably new to most and a fine concluding piece, this made for a great concert. Add one of the best current pianists, a really original encore involving Tim Hugh, Roman Simovic and Simon Trpceski, La Mer taken faster and more excitingly than usual and the LSO on top form and it made the best concert of the year for this regular audience member.
Sun 5 Dec 2010 - Connolly/Alsop
I just wanted to let you know that i had a truly unprecedented experience on Sunday night. A passage of second movement of the 7th symphony brought tears of joy to my eyes...i relished the beauty and precision of the sound produced by Alsop and the orchestra and left the Barbican sincerely grateful for a transcendent experience. And all for £8! Thank you so much.