Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - Financial Times

Britten’s Spring Symphony [...]foreshadows the community works that Britten was to write later and part of the pleasure is how it draws in young and old, including here the London Symphony Chorus, various Tiffin children’s choirs, and a well-chosen trio of soloists, comprising soprano Elizabeth Watts, mezzo Alice Coote and the ever more impressive tenor Allan Clayton. Rattle brought mystery and joy to this spring bouquet of poetry and music, which closes with a patriotic hymn to London.

Read full review

Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - Classical Source

It may be September and the summer in decline towards autumn, but the start of the London Symphony Orchestra’s concert schedule for 2018-19 looked to the season of beginnings and awakenings with Britten’s Spring Symphony (1948-9) as the climax of this programme. The fine trio of vocal soloists did more than justice to the different registers and moods of the various texts set (mainly Elizabethan and seventeenth-century) – Elizabeth Watts brimming with light and sparkle in her few contributions; Alice Coote richer toned and questioning for Herrick’s ‘Welcome, Maids of Honour’ and Auden’s ‘Out on the Lawn’; and Allan Clayton sturdy and lyrical, whilst bringing great alacrity to Richard Barnfield’s ‘When will my May come?’.

[There was] vivid detail pointed up by Simon Rattle and the LSO, with alternately atmospheric soundscapes and strongly-driven celebrations of the incoming of warmth and new life [...].

Read full review

Bernstein, Dvorak, Janacek (Lucerne Festival) – Seen and Heard

The audience was left in no doubt that this partnership of the LSO and Simon Rattle has much to offer audiences in future.
Read full review

Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - The Times

Britten’s Spring Symphony isn’t done often [...]. Rattle sharpened the edges of the score and galvanised his forces, which included the tenor Allan Clayton, the mezzo Alice Coote and the soprano Elizabeth Watts (all excellent), as well as assorted, joyous Tiffin’s school choirs, so many that they were treading on our toes in the stalls. We’re heading for winter, but in Rattle’s LSO it seems to be permanent spring.

Read full review

On the Town at the BBC Proms – Seen and Heard International

What a worthy tribute this was to Bernstein. It was a pleasure to be in the company of such a talented ensemble of singers and musicians.
Read the full review

Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - The Guardian

Who else but Simon Rattle could have sold out the Barbican Hall with this programme? The London Symphony Orchestra’s season-opener was a medley of British music, new, newish or obscure in the first half, with Britten’s choral extravaganza Spring Symphony, big but hardly a blockbuster, in the second. A year after he took over the orchestra, Rattle’s presence on the podium still hasn’t lost its sparkle.

Read full review

John Wilson conducts On the Town at the BBC Proms – The Arts Desk

Distinctive voices within the LSO included Liz Burley as jazz pianist, Philip Cobb taking to the sassy trumpet style ... and saxophonist Howard McGill … It all added up to a zinging tribute on the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth
Read the full review

Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - Seen and Heard International

Rattle chose his soloists with care. Alice Coote’s fruity, full sound was perfect for this music, while Elizabeth Watts’ glowing soprano brought a sense of ecstasy to the experience. Allan Clayton is an emerging tenor of simply huge talent his voice powerful but always with a heart of lyricism that perfectly suited Britten’s lines.

The choir, as is to be expected from the London Symphony Chorus, was characteristically excellent. [...] Rattle paced the work so that it became more than the sum of its parts, the LSO 100% behind him. The sheer power of the orchestra-only passages in the first part was utterly remarkable; the piece deserves championing to this degree, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

One of Rattle’s spoken points was to refer to the sheer variety of the treasure-trove of English music; the concert itself proved more than words ever could just how varied in jewels this trove really is.

Read full review

Ravel at the BBC Proms – The Spectator

Rattle and his orchestra cast a wonderfully bracing musical spell — just acidic enough to temper the material’s sweetness.
Read full review

Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - The Arts Desk

Allan Clayton’s performance, and in particular in 'When Will May Come?', brought the thought home that he is in the line of the very greatest tenor interpreters of Britten.[...] It was a stunning performance which will stay in the mind for a long time. The London Symphony Chorus and three choirs from Tiffin School were excellent, with the LSC’s diction and unanimity and the wide range of volume quite remarkable. Alice Coote, clutching the score close, brought a lieder singer's sensitivity to her contribution, and Elizabeth Watts's tone was resplendent.
The LSO is in great shape [...]. The Rattle era is well under way.

Read full review

Bernstein, Dvorák & Janácek (Salzburg Festival) – Abendzeitung

Rattle and Zimerman work together with the orchestra to create the finest nuances and set the multi-faceted piece under high tension.
Read full review

Season 2018/19 opening concert: Birtwistle, Holst, Turnage, Britten - Evening Standard

To open his second season as music director of the LSO, Sir Simon Rattle offered, as he did last year, a challenging programme of British music that characteristically stretched performers and audience alike. [...] All that and three fine soloists: Elizabeth Watts, Alice Coote and Allan Clayton, not to mention the orchestra itself which played immaculately throughout.

Read full review

Mahler Symphony No 9 (Santander International Festival) – Mundo Clasico

Atrás, en un pasado ya insondable, quedaba un Andante inicial expuesto en todas sus contradicciones, sombras e incertidumbres, borrados por el posterior devenir de la composición y por la magnética energía de un maestro tan intenso y preciso como Simon Rattle. Gracias, maestro, por semejante Novena, y gracias al Festival de Santander por un programa que, como este, marca la diferencia en un contexto sin apenas diferencias.
[Translation] Back, in an already unfathomable past, there was an initial Andante exposed in all its contradictions, shadows and uncertainties, erased by the subsequent evolution of the composition and by the magnetic energy of a master as intense and precise as Simon Rattle. Thank you, teacher, for such a Novena, and thanks to the Santander Festival for a program that, like this one, makes a difference in a context with hardly any differences.
Read full review