Interview with Gianandrea Noseda
Ahead of his appearance with the LSO on 21 June, we managed to catch up with conductor Gianandrea Noseda to talk about the concert and what he's most looking forward to about returning to the LSO.
What do you enjoy most about working with the London Symphony Orchestra and in particular the LSO musicians?
First of all, the culture of sound they have. They have fantastic taste, they are quick, they are very committed and they are very involved, not only in concerts but also in rehearsals. Of course they are incredible musicians so what I assume they expect from a conductor, is that they have something to offer. So I try to offer, not new ideas, but probably a different angle or different point of view on a piece. So far in the three meetings we’ve had, we’ve had a fantastic time – I enjoyed every single second of making music with them.
What was it like performing and recording the Britten War Requiem not so long ago?
Being an Italian conductor and being asked to replace Sir Colin Davis in one of the milestones of the British repertoire was very frightening. Of course I tried to learn as much of the piece as I could. First of all to respect it, the second step was to like it and the third step was to love it. By the time I started all the rehearsals and performances with the LSO I had already found my love of the War Requiem so now it’s one of my favourite pieces.
You’re coming to us on 21st June, what are you most looking forward to about the concert?
I’m looking forward to many things. Firstly, to meet the artists of the LSO again and the second thing is the programme. I think it’s a very well-conceived programme because we start with Wagner’s ‘Prelude and Liebestod’ from Tristan and Isolde, then parts of Wozzeck and finally Beethoven Five. So it’s, let’s say, looking carefully to German repertoire across three different eras. You have the late Classicism and pre-Romanticism of Beethoven, the full Romanticism of Tristan and finally the Expressionism of Berg. All three composers were obsessed by the structure of music as well as the vocal quality of the music, even Beethoven. Although we have always considered Beethoven a not very voice-friendly composer, Beethoven in fact liked voices very much. If you think of the second movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, for example, it’s incredible how vocal it sounds – all three composers are very much in love with the melodic and vocal elements of music.
Do you have a favourite piece of the three?
It’s difficult to say because if you ask me today I’ve just finished an opera rehearsal so I’m very pro-Tristan and pro-Wozzeck but if you ask me in five days’ time when I’m conducting Schubert’s Eighth Symphony with the Finnish Symphony Orchestra I will probably tell you that it’s Beethoven Five. All three pieces of music are very close to my heart.
You do a lot of work with youth orchestras, including setting up the Mariinsky Youth Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev. How important do you think these early experiences are for their future as orchestral musicians and what do you like best about working with young musicians?
In our youth, I think we received many things. Although I’m not old yet, we have to start giving back to the next generation what we received in ours. I received many gifts of knowledge about music from my teacher and the people I have met in my life. There comes a time when you need to pass on this information and your love of music to the younger generations.
If someone wasn’t sure whether to come to the concert on 21 June, how would you persuade them to give it a go?
Just simply to come and see! If you like it, you will come back and if you don’t like it, at least you had an experience. Come and see, listen, and let yourself be brought by the music into different atmospheres and worlds.
Gianandrea Noseda conducts the LSO on Thursday 21 June, 7.30pm.