Thu 28 Oct 2010 - Järvi/Mullova
Sorry NO, do not agree with the critics. I had been away from London for a month, a member of the audience in different European concert halls and with the opening chords of the Britten, I was relishing the acoustics of the Barbican Hall. Sadly from that moment my enjoyment evaporated.
Mullover's performance, for which incidentally she did not seem to have brushed her hair, was 100% technique and no soul. And Mr. Jarvi's "dancing" should be kept to the dance floor. I had the impression from other conductors that I know, that it is normal for them to watch videos of their performances so they can see and correct what the audience see...their backs. Do I really want to see Mr. J's bottom wiggling ...do I really want to see Mr. J dancing... did Bartok imagine this addition to his music? The great Maestros do not impose their physical personalities on their performances in a way that detracts from the music. Yes, he conducted without scores, yes he is a very clear conductor and has the orchestra completely under his baton and yes I am sure the concert on the 29th was very good to listen to with my eyes shut.
As for Miss Mulover, perhaps it was the wrong night, perhaps she was not well. We have all given performances, including Olivier, that were purely techincal. That is what being professional is about, but being in the audience for such performances leaves you with a feeling of emptyness and being cheated. You have come to the concert hall for a live performance, for the electricity that is generated between artists and audience...not for the digitally enhanced perfection of a studio recording.
Tue 26 Oct 2010 - Noseda/Ehnes
The main works were prefaced by Ian Vine's 'Individual objects' which was moderately interesting, but not to the extent that I'd want to hear it again. I thought James Ehnes performance of the Bartok 2nd Violin Concerto was extraordinarly well played but I have to confess that it's one of the few Bartok works I can't quite get the hang of. To me it's a work of fits and starts that doesn't hang together very well. I note that the Guardian's critic feels the same way about. Still the work could not have had a better advocate than Ehnes and he well deserved the applause. I'll just have to persevere with the work. It won't be the first time that I've had trouble with a work I've grown to love.
The Prokofiev 6th was a triumph and I don't agree with the Guardian critic's description of the performance as 'smooth'. I thought it had real edge and rawness to it which I think is quite appropriate. As for the finale, taken at a terrific lick I thought, it built to an absolutely devastating coda. The only performance I've ever heard that was even more cathartic was given by the LSO with Rostropovich so Noseda is in very select company. Terrific playing by all sections of the orchestra as well.
Sun 24 Oct 2010 - Eric Whitacre/LSC
What a thrill it was to see Eric Whitacre conducting his own work, to hear and see a World Premiere and to be introduced to each piece by the maestro himself! This brought a winsome and personal touch to every piece, with dashes of humour, self-deprecating stories and courageous reference to his frail father.
The sound in the Hall was unforgettable. The choir achieved what most choirs never do – that plangent, airy unity where no single individualistic voice calls the attention. He plays the choir like an instrument. Eric’s obvious enjoyment was infectious and we were treated to a wonderful programme of varied but absolutely excellent music. He squeezed even more excitement out of the audience by moving Lux Aurumque to the end of the evening; but what a fitting and magical ending it was!
We talked about it all the way home. Thank you for an amazing evening which I will never forget.
The concert, as usually by the LSO, was excellent. But how do you expect people to read the programme, especially words of songs, where the main text is basically in half tint on a background of at best described as off-white? It looks as if no one in 'programme design' has considered that the audience wants to read their programmes in the fairly dim lights of the concert hall.
Solution: Why not have all the text in bold and the sub-headings eg page 4 Long time ago, Simple gifts, I bought me a cat, At the river and Ching-a-ring-Chaw in a bigger font?
Everyone around me, young and old alike, was peering at the text with their noses three centimetres from the page and holding it up to the only light available. It was such a pity.
I enjoyed his relaxed open introductions to the pieces and the music itself.
However I was seriously disappointed though to hear string parts with some of the choir pieces, especially 'Sleep'. I feel it took away the magic, vibrations, feel, unity, purity ... it sounded disjointed and the strings sounded scrapy underneath the voices.
Sun 24 Oct 2010 - LSO Discovery Family Concert: Sounds Unexpected
We've been coming to the concerts in the last few years.It's a great success for us because my son has autism. He is 17 now, he enjoys and tolerates the audience, this is a big achievement for him. He plays piano at home, exposing him to the environment where orchestra, musicians and audience are there, it is a kind of rich social gain for him with additional experiment with the different instrument before the concert is great.
However I wish we could have similar friendly, less formal experience with different type of music like, jazz, country, folk, even pop... It's good to have different tastes but we can not go easily all sort of shows. Family concert is ideal for us. Shortly, it's great, thank you for providing this.
What I (Mum) love about the concerts is hearing the classics I loved as a child – e.g. Peer Gynt, The Planets, Ode to Joy – and seeing my 10 year old enjoy them. We love seeing how the orchestra produces the sound, and finding out about the instruments. My son is sometimes able to play pieces afterwards on the piano (in his classical tunes book). He also loves hearing theme tunes (Dr Who, Harry Potter, Simpsons). With pieces like this you don’t need much explanation or other activities – though we have enjoyed the visual display with the theme tunes. We also like being introduced to some unusual pieces like the one with the vacuum cleaners.
At the last concert, we liked the pairs of instruments coming to the front for their duets, and seeing the bagpipes. We joined in with the singing and gestures, but we don’t particularly need to do this. We were sorry not to hear more of ET. We also went to the recent concert of the Planets, with the accompanying video – this was brilliant.
I know you are also trying to interest younger children, and it is a difficult balance. We do enjoy the presenters but sometimes we just want more music.
Really Great! Most enjoyable.
My wife and I took our two boys who are 8 and 6 years old, along to the “Sounds Unexpected” concert. We haven’t been to one before and I must confess I know very little about classical music (though I buy and listen to a lot of music generally) whereas my wife has a music degree, but I’ve always enjoyed any concerts I’ve gone to. I thought you might like a little feedback from a relative luddite.
My elder son really liked the fact that he was able to hold and play a violin, viola etc. in the foyer. He also seemed to really enjoy the concert itself, particularly the first violinist playing what to my eyes, looked like an incredibly difficult piece by Ravel (Tzigane was it?). He found the way the pieces were broken down by your presenter to showcase the different instruments and themes very interesting. I appreciate the concerts are designed for 7-12 year olds, so I think my 6 year old was less engaged by this, though he enjoyed the music (he just wasn’t that fussed about the bits in between).
My wife thought it was great and I found it very interesting too, I think we would definitely go again. I was frankly amazed it wasn’t sold out as the tickets were a bargain I thought (we don’t live in London either and I think anyone who does is definitely missing a trick if they have any interest in music whatsoever).
One last thing is that I only got an email saying that I could download a programme and sheet music a couple of days prior to the event, which didn’t really give us much chance to look at the music with the boys before the concert. I know it was a simple tune, but if I’d had the emails maybe even a couple of days earlier I would have found it more useful.
Anyway, it was good fun and a pleasure to see talented people play so well, so I guess we’ll be along in February.
This has been our third time to the Discovery Family concert, we have been to the 2 previous concerts with Paul Rissman which we thought were fantastic – the narration was excellent, and so was the choice of music – both the adults and our 8 year old enjoyed it tremendously.
This time, on the other hand, with we felt the narration was long and tiresome, it was difficult to hear or to follow, the choice of music wasn’t as exciting as before it was quite boring, it was disappointing, as we were expecting an experience as we had before.
Andy, Catherine, Esme and Rowan
Compared to the last two concerts we felt there was too much talking and not enough music - I know this was aimed at the older children but the content and delivery just weren't engaging enough. Children and parents come to hear the musicians play - not to hear someone go on about it at great length. Perhaps some content like this could be made available online before/after the concert - but I stress again that we come to see the LSO play, not someone talk about it. We also felt that more use should have been made of the close circuit video link to highlight particular players rather than bringing them out to the front which took too much time....When the orchestra played pieces it was of the usual high standard so please next time less talk, more use of video and more time for music. The creche was a great idea please retain it.
Fri 15 Oct 2010 - LSO Discovery Friday Lunchtime Concert
In a previous LSO comment, I suggested that Carmine would have given us a better performance than a star violinist. Here was the evidence with a breath-taking 45 minutes of fiddling. It’s the first time at St Lukes that I have seen some people stand to applaud and it was well-deserved.
The programme tells us he has done the Walton in Prague (I think) – how about giving us the same in London?
Sun 10 & Tue 12 Oct 2010 - Davis/Mutter/LSC
It was wonderful - one of the best concerts I've been to this year (and this year I've been to quite a few). In fact it was so wonderful that I've bought a recording of the LSO playing the Glagolithic Mass. But I'm putting off playing it because I don't want to overwrite the memory of Tuesday night's performance!
Dr Gerhard Behrens
Wholeheartedly agree, a truly superb and unforgettable performance of Dvorak's violin concert and Janacek's Glagolitic mass. The "Trickster" prelude, while certainly having its merits as an encouragement for young composers, seemed to be more an effort to convey humour in music, something that here again proved to be difficult to achieve without overdoing the "humour".
The evening was a satisfying whole with a fun, new piece by a young composer which exploited the large forces available to her and was a good overture (we could do with more standard overtures, by the way - how about some Berlioz from Sir Colin?).
Then Anne-Sophie Mutter (anagram: atmosphere in tune) looking gorgeous in a trade-mark gown and much more relaxed and informal at the Barbican than we have seen before. Wonderful, faultless playing which made the Dvorak a better piece than it probably is.
Finally the Janacek Mass with choir, orchestra and Sir Colin all in earth-shattering form to send us home uplifted.
We had a lovely time at yesterday’s concert – not only musically, but we met so many people we knew including our next door neighbour!
Anne-Sophie Mutter was amazing (and a lovely dress too). I thought if she played any closer to Colin Davis’ nose he was going to find it difficult to turn the pages of his score. A great violinist with huge tonal contrasts, from aggressive to lyrical. The Janacek was its usual exuberant self; good to know Dvorak wrote something other than operas which start miserable and end in tragedy.
I even quite enjoyed the first piece.
Sun 10 Oct 2010 - Janácek Discovery Day
Congratulations on another very interesting and stimulating day. I would like to suggest something to improve these days even more and that concerns the guest speaker. Could you try to engage those who can speak without reading a script. On this occasion as with many similar Discovery Day talks over the past 10years I have attended, Gavin Plumley did just that at a fast speed and found himself correcting slips of the tongue every 20 words or so. As I heard during the break from others, I was not alone in finding this detracted a lot from absorbing his message. Yes he knew his subject thoroughly but we need more.
I suggest the emphasis would be better on presentation skills rather than complete knowledge. This would include using the St Lukes screens and having more examples of the music of the composer than we had today.
I was once taught in a How Adults Learn course that 20 minutes continuous talk is all we can absorb; today we had 45 minutes. It was noticeable how much better Mr Plumley was in the q and a when he spoke off the cuff.
I hope these comments come over in the constructive sense intended.
Tue 5 Oct 2010 - Davis/Chang
Yes i agree with all the positive comments. I have always been a big fan of sir colin davis wether it is opera or orchestral music and i have never been disappointed in one of his performances.
The concert began inauspiciously with Dorothy Ker's "a gentle infinity", an unmemorable piece of modernism that went in one ear and out at the other end.
Things picked up with Sarah Chang's performance of Mendessohn's Violin Concerto which was lovely and beautifully accompanied. For me though the real draw of the evening was a chance to hear Sir Colin conduct the Elgar Second Symphony again. I'd heard him do it at the Proms a few years ago and was bowled over. This performance was magnificent in every way. I don't think I've ever heard the slow movement delivered with such tragic intensity. Long may Sir Colin's Indian Summer continue!
Thank you for letting me see the reviews of the concert . In the whole of my life I have never heard a more wonderful performance of Elgars' second symphony . I shall never forget it.
A concert of 2 halves in that after an inconsequential new piece (maybe history will prove me wrong but I got nothing from it, sadly), we had a most disappointing performance by Sarah Chang. Too edgy for the lovely Mendelssohn and intonation awry throughout the first movement, the violinist’s exaggerated body movements (often almost horizontal backwards and practising at times apparently, for Strictly Come Dancing) detracted from the improved sound in the last two movements.
Along the lines of the recent Marriner/Gough duo in Strauss, I would rather have heard and seen a Carmine Lauri or a Gordan Nikolitch performance.
Luckily though, the wonderfully exhilarating orchestral performance of Elgar 2 made it a worthwhile evening. So good to see Sir Colin back after his enforced rest and hoping for many more Barbican/Davis/LSO treats in years to come.