Wed 23 & Thu 24 Mar 2011 - Valery Gergiev/Leonidas Kavakos
After Kavakos' phenomenal playing on Thursday 24th I saw something I'd never seen before. The audience didn't dash out for their interval drinks and the orchestra applauded. I've seen genteel tapping of bows on desks before but never musicians applauding another. He took five calls and then an encore and I was so priviledged to be there as I don't think I'll ever witness such playing again. Thankyou.
As a Japanese living in London, I very much appreciated your comment before concert today at the Barbican. Even that made me cry a little because the events were too shocking and heart breaking.
Most of us here have difficulty in watching horrible footage on tv and the fact we live far away from home makes us worried more and more.
Hope music will give us strength and people severely damaged in Japan will get through in a few years time. Many thanks.
Fantastic evening. For me Gergiev isn't god in everything and no longer the only Rusian conductor but certainly the best in Tschaikovsky.
I never knew Lithuania's presidency of the EU coincided with the 600th anniversary of a battle - very interesting. What was Mr Putin's favourite conductor doing conducting this work in a NATO state on Russia's border. The politics wasn't just in the Shostakovitch.
I thought the Shchedrin was totally unoriginal and derived from a host of the usual devices, which I call "tricks", exploited by living composers. I'm not asking for classical tunes or melodies - I'm asking for something that makes me sit up and exclaim, "that really is new!".
The Kavakos interpretation of the Shostakovitch violin concerto was, in total contrast, a marvel, some of the best playing I have ever heard anywhere. There is nothing left to say!
The performance of Tchaikovsky's "Little Russian" symphony was cleanly and professionally executed but lacked artistic fire. It was as if Gergiev had found no time to rehearse the piece properly. There were some outstanding individual offerings from section players, notably horns and percussion, but the performance "clunked" as if Gergiev had told the orchestra, "OK, you know this thing backwards - you don't really need me". Sorry, but I was not transported with delight!
Sun 20 Mar 2011 - Sir Colin Davis/Sally Matthews
Was a great concert. To be honest, I avoid the Barbican because every time i go there I get lost. This time was the usual nightmare. No signage from the station, a blocked entrance on the one side due to works so we had to walk back around a huge block. Please can't you guys signpost more clearly?
Sun 13 Mar 2011 - Sir Colin Davis/Jonathan Biss
I have just read Bob Briggs' review of last Sunday's LSO concert at the Barbican and he seems to mirror my views almost to the letter, certainly in his 2nd and 3rd paragraphs.
I was not interested in the modern piece of music that commenced the programme, having gone to hear Sir Colin's Beethoven, which, for me, has always been exceptional. Only he and Kurt Masur, of living conductors, can be truly called great Beethoven interpreters.
I was not disappointed, even though, I thought that the concert was one of two halves. Sir Colin seemed mildly disinterested in the piano concerto and Jonathan Biss did not help by rushing his fences in both the first and last movements. I too have heard Mr Biss before, at Snape Maltings' Proms last year, but that was a solo piano recital. He rushed his Beethoven (Op 10 No 1) then and even though it was a good performance, it was nowhere near as good as his Schumann (Kreisleriana) afterwards, which was truly memorable.
Still, even with the slight disappointment in the first half, I was certainly not prepared for the complete change in the second half. As soon as Sir Colin started the symphony (Beethoven's 7th) I knew we were in for something extraordinary. Mr Briggs is quite right when he describes the Allegretto as a "slow movement of majestic tragedy, Sir Colin finding a depth of feeling, I have never experienced in this music before". I would whole heartedly agree with that but with the proviso that I did hear Otto Klemperer conduct this symphony several times, and he was, for me, the greatest of them all.
I see that Sir Colin has been unwell recently. I can only wish him a full recovery so that we are able to experience further evenings of such great music making. I am looking forward to his Nielsen immensely.
Beethoven's 7th Symphony played by the LSO conducted by Sir Colin Davis was magnificent. Incredibly moving and beautifully played. My sons, aged 27 and 28, who accompanied me loved it. They are modern young men and usually go to Rock Concerts etc. I shall never forget the look my elder son gave me during the First Movement. A big sideways smile that said it all. Thank you Beethoven and the LSO for a fantastic evening.
The lovely Beethoven 3rd Piano Concerto was beautifully played and much appreciated.
The new work which was premiered was very noisy and discordant. Interesting but glad when it was over! Why do young classical composers eschew melody? Rock musicians have it - I don't see why you cannot as well. I realise it was challenging but not many people would listen to it again.
Mon 7 Mar 2011 - Sir Simon Rattle
This was a fantastic concert with the LSO playing so thrillingly for Simon Rattle. It was also a splendid advertisement for a live occasiion. I am glad Radio 3 was recording it but I doubt if many receivers can cope with the enormous dynamic range in the Messiaen and also at some of the climaxes in the Bruckner. The Messiaen was also thrilling visually - especially that huge gong right at the back. Everyone seemed to be swept away by the intensity of the performance.
This was an outstanding concert.
Great concert - Bruckner is one my favorites - the orchestra was marvelous; not a big fan of Messiaen though -- it really hurt my ears and i was worried about hearing loss but the Bruckner no 9 was terrific.
I agree with those critics who gave this concert 5 stars--it was one of the most exciting concerts I've been to and probably the first time that I enjoyed Bruckner. Loud? yes, but why not? The large tam tam was incredibly atmospheric and well controlled. The critic who thought it was too loud should come to the Royal Centre in Nottingham and hear how loud the Halle can play. Yes, lovely Wagner tubas--they deserved the "stand-up" and Rattle's hand shake.
Wed 2 & Thu 3 Mar 2011 - Valery Gergiev/Mario Brunello (2 Mar only)
The concert on march 2nd was inspiring. Gergeiv and his total command of the music drew me in.The cellist was excellent-and, for me- educational. The Mahler was total immersion of the poetic kind. Thanks Maestro.
Just a quick note to express my thanks and indeed amazement at how enjoyable last night’s performance (3.3.11) of Mahler’s 9th symphony and the fragment if the 10th was. The power, emotional depth and subtle nuances drawn out of such a marvellous orchestra by Valery Gergiev made it a highly memorable experience. All that applause and ovations more than deserved; I hope the LSO and their exemplary conductor realise how happy they make people. Thank you to all involved.
Thanks to the wonderful LSO much is possible and I congratulate them and their leader on their efforts last week. I shall however not order tickets again when G conducts Mahler...leave that to someone else please.
Gergiev, the LSO and Mahler's 9th Symphony - a Sublime performance.
I loved the Wednesday concert, in fact I loved it so much, I went again... on Thursday. And, what a treat this was again. The Mahler's 9th and particularly its ending does not get much better. The Adagio in the 10th performed by the LSO under the amazing Valery Gergiev was in a class of its own. Especially, since most of the coughers took an early exit at the interval, and just as well they did.
Professor Geoffrey Broadbent
I was particularly intrigued to attend this performance because I'd hear Dudamel and the LAPO in Mahler 9 two weeks earlier (with Rattle's Mahler 3 in between) .
I thought the Ninths were both magnificent, in their very different ways. Dudamel's was unbelievably mature - I've written a review for the Mahler Society about it - and Gergiev's was much more penetrating than the first time I heard him do it. Truth to tell, I found some of it it a bit fast, especially the final Adagio, but that fabulous fade-away to nothing was as sublime as I've ever heard it - and that includes Barbirolli, Haitink, Klemperer, Bernstein and many others.
I have two complaints, however, about the 10th. First of all, after an hour and a half's close concentration on the Ninth, it was a bit exhausting to come back for an encore. I noticed that quite a few people didn't.
Secondly, I find Gergiev's Mahler so refreshing - after the far too hot-house-delicate Abbado - that I just wish he'd do the whole symphony. I know that great, traditional Mahlerians, such as Bernstein and Haitink, have refused to do it but that's not quite the point. It does represent Mahler's post-Ninth development - including the anguish over Gropius and Alma (I was once invited to have dinner with them but I couldn't go) - that to leave his life at the end of the Ninth, marvellous though it is, literally is a falsification of history.
The opening of Adagio, of the Tenth, of course, is superb, with it's premonitions of the Second Viennese School, but the closing Adagio is something else again; perhaps the finest movement in the whole of the symphonic literature.
So please, Maestro Gergiev, let's have the whole thing from you. I've pleaded for this before but it would be inimitable. I know Cooke's score presents its problems; tempi etc, but other, much less able conductors, seem to negotiate them quite effectively. We have, actually met but you wouldn't remember. It was at an LSO friends lunch - before your Mahler cycle - but I was so awe-struck that I didn't have very much to say. We just talked a bit about my field which is architecture but if I'd known then that you weren't going to do the whole of the Tenth, I'd have mentioned it!