Violin and music

Violin and music

November 2013

Schubert/Wagner - Daniel Harding/Peter Seiffert/Iréne Theorin et al

Thu 28 Nov 2013, Barbican

The Times, 2 Dec 2013
Every inflection of emotion was movingly sculpted through intensely concentrated lines as Salminen, deep inside a role he has made very much his own, at last drew us into Wagner’s world with singing worthy of the composer.
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Bachtrack, 1 Dec 2013
This was a performance which focused on the music, with the orchestral part given a performance that it would be hard to match by the LSO on top form. Harding seemed to have a natural understanding of the Wagnerian pulse
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The Guardian, 1 Dec 2013
A steadily grave tempo in the first movement became a little more yielding but still always fragile in the second, the London Symphony Orchestra at times achieving a mesmerising pianissimo stillness.
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Financial Times, 1 Dec 2013
Forget the lovers’ romantic paradise: this Tristan was worth it for Salminen’s quiet dignity.
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Opera Britannia, 29 Nov 2013
I suppose it’s both invidious and impractical to start singling out individuals, but I can’t forbear from giving a special mention to the bass clarinet of Lorenzo Iosco, playing of such poise and feeling as to render his introduction to and punctuation of King Mark’s despairing monologue the very aural ideogram of grief. Magnificent, tout court.
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Whatsonstage, 29 Nov 2013
From the heights of the great cry "Elend" to the voice fined down to a whisper, [Matti Salminen's] was operatic singing and acting of the highest order and I feel privileged to have seen it.
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Classical Source, 29 Nov 2013
The dark realm of which Tristan sings at the end of Act Two was powerfully foreshadowed in Daniel Harding and the LSO’s extraordinarily nihilistic performance of Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony, one that reminded you of the scale of this work’s introspection.
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UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica - Norwegian Requiem - Arve Henrikson/Ståle Storløkken/LSO Community Choir/Choralia/Christopher Finch

Tue 26 Nov 2013, LSO St Luke's

Financial Times, 27 Nov 2013
The nine-part work includes a “Kyrie eleison”, sung beautifully in plainsong by Choralia, the 24-voiced chamber girls’ choir from Wells Cathedral School, and “Hosanna in Excelsis”, briefly sung at full throttle by the combined voices of Choralia and the 80-plus LSO Community Choir.
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The Guardian, 27 Nov 2013
Harmoniously pure episodes mixed with dissonant, free-falling passages in which the voices slithered anxiously around each other like deserted ghosts.
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Schubert/Mahler - Daniel Harding/Christianne Stotijn/Burkhard Fritz

Wed 20 Nov 2013, Barbican

Bachtrack, 22 Nov 2013
The LSO hung on Harding’s every gesture, dynamic shading and minute, infinitely expressive manipulations of tempo faultlessly brought off; the first movement’s playful dialogues across the orchestra were a delight.
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The Arts Desk, 21 Nov 2013
The unanimity of the LSO strings (violins divided antiphonally) was exquisite.
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Classical Source, 21 Nov 2013
The LSO’s wind section in particular played with extraordinary, sometimes seemingly otherworldly artistry, but the orchestra as a whole responded to the shifting sonorities of the score with a consistent virtuosity that was always in evidence but didn’t draw attention to itself.
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Gergiev's Berlioz: Harold in Italy - Valery Gergiev/Karen Cargill/Antoine Tamestit

Fri 1 & Tue 12 Nov 2013, Barbican

British Viola Society, 12 Nov, 2013
Tamestits control of the Viola was immaculate and his range of dynamics and colours were flawless...The communication between Gergiev, the section leaders and the rest of the sections was top quality, with no directions from the maestro being missed. The whole audience was encapsulated by the raw musicianship on display and this was a top quality display of communication, theatre and talent.
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MusicOMH, 15 Nov 2013
In the second movement Tamestit’s handling of the arpeggios was so controlled that they became hypnotic, and the orchestra’s final long diminuendo, which ended with the viola’s final ‘breaths’, was highly moving.
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Financial Times, 13 Nov 2013
Antoine Tamestit, the viola soloist, brought a strong, forthright personality to the hero of Harold en Italie, Berlioz’s tone-poem-cum-concerto loosely based on Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and Gergiev found enough atmosphere for Harold in the mountains and the muted awe of the pilgrims’ march
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Classical Source, 13 Nov 2013
...this was a performance full of fire and fantasy, the musicians’ quick reflexes all part of the desired response to Berlioz’s demands, not least the woodwinds’ quips and curlicues, Bryn Lewis on harp and Antoine Bedewi’s cultured connection on timpani.
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Gergiev's Berlioz: Romeo and Juliet - Valery Gergiev/Olga Borodina/Kenneth Tarver/Evgeny Nikitin

Wed 6 & Wed 13 Nov 2013, Barbican

The Observer, 17 Nov 2013
Appropriately for a symphony dedicated to Paganini, the instrumental writing is virtuosic, particularly in the brilliantly quixotic "Queen Mab" scherzo, where the LSO seized upon Berlioz's experiments with string harmonics, bells and glockenspiel to produce some breathtakingly iridescent colours.
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The Guardian, 14 Nov 2013
It is very much to the London Symphony Orchestra's credit, therefore, that they have embraced Gergiev's high-stakes game with all the skill and energy at their disposal, delivering themselves on this occasion of a performance so immediately responsive to the conductor's intentions that it felt for all the world as if the music were being emitted directly by the mysterious shimmering of the conductor's fingertips.
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MusicOMH, 11 Nov 2013
The LSO played with their usual skill and flair, and Gergiev drove them hard in the pacier passages.
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The Times, 8 Nov 2013
The best things were the superbly shaped singing of the Guildhall School Chorus and Evgeny Nikitin’s sonorous declamation of Friar Laurence’s aria.
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Evening Standard, 7 Nov 2013
Orchestral details shone through with pinpoint clarity; harps, triangle and clarinet all had their moment in the spotlight, the strings were refined and the choir (notably the Guildhall School Chorus) radiant.
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Bachtrack, 7 Nov 2013
I left in little doubt that Gergiev and his orchestra are as fine a team of representatives as Berlioz could want.
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Classical Source, 7 Nov 2013
The LSO played with its customary virtuosity, the London Symphony Chorus made an impressively deep-toned sound, and it was a delight to hear the fresh young voices of the 12 students from the Guildhall School of Music who comprised the semi-chorus.
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Gergiev's Berlioz: The Damnation of Faust - Valery Gergiev/Olga Borodina/Michael Spyres/Florian Boesch/Mirco Palazzi

Sun 3 & Thu 7 Nov 2013, Barbican

MusicOMH, 11 Nov 2013
Again, the LSO’s playing was vivid and vibrant. The well-known ‘Hungarian March’, ‘Dance of the Sylphs’ and ‘Will-o’-the-Wisp Minuet’ were all played with brio, delicacy and wit, and the ‘Ride to the Abyss’ in Part IV was particularly exhilarating.
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The Daily Telegraph, 6 Nov 2013
... in the title role Michael Spyres rose impressively to the challenges of his invocation, “Nature immense”. Secure right up to his top notes, the American tenor has plangent tone ideally suited to this music.
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The Times, 5 Nov 2013
Honed by many years of Berlioz-love from the late Colin Davis, the LSO have this music in their bones, and the juiciest moments came when the players dished up Berlioz’s fantastic palette of sonorities: the grimacing rasp of the trombones for Mephisto, the dusky beauty of Paul Silverthone’s viola as it shadowed Marguerite’s Roi de Thulé ballad, and — particularly — Christine Pendrill’s entrancingly beautiful cor anglais, Marguerite’s other partner in her great scene, D’amour L’ardente flamme.
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The Guardian, 5 Nov 2013
Despite solid work from the orchestra and finely disciplined singing from the London Symphony Chorus, some of the sheer electricity of Berlioz's repeated flashes of imagination was missing.
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The Arts Desk, 4 Nov 2013
To name just a few stand-outs, the handling of filigree string parts from both the firsts and second violins had an astonishing unanimity and telepathy, communicating faultlessly to the back desks. Philip Cobb's low-lying cornet part in "Voici des Roses" was gorgeous (played on flugelhorn?); Sharon Willliams had a fabulous evening topping out the textures on piccolo; and the two orchestral soloists working in Olga Borodina's showpiece numbers - Christine Pendrill on cor anglais and Paul Silverthorne on viola were just stunning.
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Whatsonstage, 4 Nov 2013
[Michael Spyres] had the voice for the part, too: even the cruel high notes rang true in ‘Merci, doux crépuscule!', and the cry of "Seigneur! Seigneur!" opened out gloriously. And in ‘Nature immense', Faust's extended aria in Part Four and an enormous challenge at the end of a long evening, Spyres still sounded refulgent.
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