Reviews


Thursday 8 June 2017

Brahms/Nielsen – Michael Tilson Thomas/Yuja Wang

Classical Source, 9 June 2017
Above all this was the LSO playing within itself yet with natural grandeur.
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Sunday 4 June 2017

Stravinsky/Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky – Michael Tilson Thomas/Lisa Batiashvili

Classical Source, 5 Jun 2017
The ultimate fade into nothingness from the cellos and double basses was managed with refinement and feeling, a dignified lament.
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Thursday 1 June 2017

Beethoven/Bruckner – Bernard Haitink/Mitsuko Uchida

Classical Source, 2 June 2017
The first movement flowed, intense and modulated, and mystical distances were created; and without losing any one aspect of it, the first movement built inexorably to a lava-flow climax, strings remaining audible under the brass tumult, the music marching thereafter to its various ports of call, Haitink steady on the tiller until the majestic coda, the LSO resplendent and committed throughout, two hallmarks of a great performance.
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Seen and Heard, 3 June 2017
At once the magnificent playing of the LSO was to be admired, as were Haitink’s unerringly correct choice of tempo and management of phrase, and his customarily perfect baton technique.
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Sunday 28 May 2017

Bruckner Te Deum/Symphony No 9 –Bernard Haitink/Sally Matthews/Karen Cargill/Eric Cutler/Alessandro Spina/LSC

Bachtrack, 29 May 2017
And when the climaxes come with the great Dutchman, they are truly towering, as was the case at the climax to this movement – all guns blazing and with the heavy artillery discharging their salvoes with controlled potency.
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ArtsDesk, 30 May 2017
Dynamic extremes were delivered with ease by every section of the orchestra, building to a truly momentous climax (a good substitute for the missing finale, at least under Haitink’s baton) before coming to rest in the quietest of codas
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Classical Source, 30 May 2017
In the Ninth, Haitink demonstrated his masterly control of Bruckner’s vast structure, starting slowly and deliberately, the marking of Misterioso correctly observed.
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The Times, 31 May 2017
This was what live concerts were invented for: music-making of transfiguring passion and brio, and all achieved with such sparing moves from the podium.
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Tuesday 23 May 2017

Mahler Symphony No 9 – Bernard Haitink

Daily Telegraph, 24 May 2017
A searing performance, albeit one achieved with economy of gesture, this showed again how Haitink is one of the last patricians of the podium.
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Bachtrack, 24 May 2017
In Haitink's hands, the symphony was painted on the largest possible canvas, its narrative arc bridging the long pauses between movements, passing from the joy of the first movement to the quiet resignation of the fourth. The result was something deeply consoling and palliative in the best sense of the word.
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Classical Iconoclast, 24 May 2017
The Finale was so refined that it seemed to come from another realm. The high tessitura shimmered so beautifully that the music seemed bathed in ethereal light. Upwards and upwards, the sounds levitated, counterbalanced by gentle diminuendos. How does Haitink get players to hold lines with such poise and refinement?
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The Guardian, 24 May 2017
This was an exceptional performance, unblinkingly direct and faultlessly played by the LSO
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Classical Source, 24 May 2017
The slow and stoic Finale – a mere seventeen pages of score if with time suspended in the flesh – was everything it should be, string sound of astonishing richness, maximum intensity, secure horn-playing and above all that sense of Life hanging by a thread as the music reaches its dissolve, singing through the silences. It was a privilege to have been at this concert.
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The Times, 25 May 2017
The long hymn of the final movement thinned and paled, dwindling into silence. Untidy with feeling, this was an impactful and unforgettable performance.
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Seen and Heard, 25 May 2017
For me Haitink gave a refreshingly direct and objective reading of Mahler’s last completed and finest symphony.
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Thursday 18 May 2017

Vaughan Williams/Brahms/Holst – Sir Mark Elder/Roman Simovic/Tim Hugh/London Symphony Chorus

Seen and Heard, 20 May 2017
Inspired by Sir Mark’s brilliant direction, the playing was not only of faultless virtuosity, but it had a remarkable sense of freshness.
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Classical Source, 19 May 2017
LSO principals Roman Simovic and Tim Hugh impressed immediately, communing and interactive, Hugh rich-toned and concentrated, Simovic sweetly expressive and gleaming in timbre, individual yet complementary, folding into a robust and keen accompaniment.
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Sunday 14 May 2017

Mozart/Tchaikovsky – NIkolaj Znaider

Bachtrack, 15 May 2017
In all four movements Nigel Thomas’ titanic timpani contributions provided ample evidence of Fate making its presence felt.
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Sunday 7 May 2017

Mussorgsky/Tchaikovsky/Shostakovich – Sir Mark Elder/Anne-Sophie Mutter

Seen and Heard, 8 May 2017
The delicacy and coolness of the soli violas and woodwind as the sun rose over the Muscovy River – with piquant cock-crows from oboe and bassoon – flowered warmly with the entry of horns and timpani, and Elder’s flexible rubato created a strong sense of organic development and unfolding.
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Classical Source, 8 May 2017
... this was an account of considerable insight and comprehensive realisation, with superlative playing from Carmine Lauri (violin), Rebecca Gilliver (cello) and Peter Moore (trombone), the internationalism of the work’s message was unmistakeable.
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Sunday 23 April 2017

Debussy/Bartók/Bruckner – François-Xavier Roth/Antoine Tamestit

The ArtsDesk, 24 April 2017
The finale is a collection of folk dances, performed here with suitable rustic flavour, and with Tamestit tapping his foot throughout, suggesting a playful agility too rarely associated with the instrument.
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Classical Source, 24 April 2017
Antoine Tamestit played marvellously, with superb musicianship, technique and rich timbre, and a love for the music that shone through, and he has made revisions to the solo part, which was almost complete in Bartók’s draft. It seems that he was concerned to make the orchestration “transparent”, which it certainly was here, Roth and the LSO alert to every demand and fully supportive of Tamestit.
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The Times, 25 April 2017
This was a lithe, supple and brilliantly intelligent reading: poetic, athletic and precisely placed within the argumentative history of the Teutonic tradition, with nods to Brahms (a surprise) as well as Wagner, and hints of what would follow with Mahler.
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Bachtrack, 25 April 2017
With this much energy it looks to be an exciting time ahead for the LSO when Roth joins them as principal guest conductor.
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Seen and Heard, 25 April 2017
Roth negotiated the rhythmic structure and sonata form of the first movement with complete insight and mastery. Its opening ‘dual’ between soloist and timpani demonstrated Tamestit’s superb sense of dialogue and integration. The subtle timpani playing here of Nigel Thomas also deserves mention.
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Saturday 8 April 2017

The Can Project with Irmin Schmidt, Malcolm Mooney and Thurston Moore

The National Student, 10 April 2017
Forging passages from Can classics like ‘Halleluwah’ and ‘Sing Swan Song’ into a complex and densely structured orchestral work Schmidt did justice to the original anarchic approach of Can in a new and unexpected form.
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The Guardian, 10 April 2017
Can Dialog wove classics including Halleluwah and Sing Swan Song into percussively spiky minimalism, and densely layered orchestral structures, sometimes echoing Schmidt’s former teachers Karlheinz Stockhausen and György Ligeti in music of sonically fascinating, if rather inchoate, glimpses.
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Thursday 6 April 2017

Berg/Mahler – Gianandrea Noseda/Janine Jansen

The Guardian, 7 April 2017
[Jansen's] performance was typically understated, full of quietly eloquent solo playing and never parading its sense of loss and elegy too obviously
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Classical Source, 7 April 2017
Jansen’s final, long and high ethereal G was perfectly pitched and even expressively shaped, the vibrato under perfect control, the modest swelling as indicated in score.
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Seen and Heard, 7 April 2017
Noseda brought that out by allowing everyone from the massed percussion, the harps, the brass to the strings, ‘off the leash’ (or should that be baton?) more than in any other Mahler 7 I have heard. After all the colourful sounds and panoramic textures the superb LSO approached the riotous end with horns suitably blazing. There was never a hint of the anxiety with which this movement can sometime be imbued and joy was unconfined for me and most those around me in the Barbican Hall.
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Bachtrack, 8 April 2017
Mahler's questioning, questing introductory statement soon gave way to high-energy playing from an orchestra that met any definition of brilliance, be it technical, musical or sonic.
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Thursday 30 March 2017

Debussy/Bartók/Mahler – François-Xavier Roth/Simon Trpceski

The Arts Desk, 31 March 2017
The ending had the horns in full swaggering voice over Nigel Thomas’s striding timpani.
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Classical Source, 31 March 2017
Roth’s overview of the Finale was masterly in its pace and sense of danger, articulated with considerable fire by the LSO.
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Bachtrack, 31 March 2017
But it was the triumphant coda– with the entire horn standing standing – that left the most thrilling impression. Roth and the LSO were on superlative form.
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The Guardian, 31 March 2017
The first movement boasted expansiveness without loss of momentum; the second oozed personality, its woodwind solos rudely carnivalesque, while the third was a vigorous display of Mahler the colourist (think Hockney, not Farrow & Ball). The finale was often loud. Very loud. But it, too, remained finely delineated, its closing brass apotheosis a thrilling, ecstatic release from Roth’s spell.
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The Times, 4 April 2017
If he hasn’t already got the nickname Special FX, then Roth should adopt it.
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Thursday 23 March 2017

Prokofiev/Shostakovich/Ravel – Alain Altinoglu/Gautier Capuçon/London Symphony Chorus

Bachtrack, 24 March 2017
With snake-hip wiggles and exaggerated back bends, Altinoglu relished the drama. He didn’t neglect the more delicate moments of Ravel’s scoring though, from nocturnal sighs from a dusky alto flute to rippling woodwinds that greeted a glittering sunrise over the Aegean.
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Classical Source, 24 March 2017
This fine performance set the seal on Altinoglu’s debut, the LSO giving its all.
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The Times, 27 March 2017
In a concert of extraordinary sophistication, dynamic daring, brilliant transparency and supple phrasing from the London Symphony Orchestra and the French conductor Alain Altinoglu, it was the purity of Gautier Capuçon’s playing of the second movement of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto that stilled the hall.
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Sunday 19 March 2017

Schubert/Brahms – Fabio Luisi/Julia Kleiter/Simon Keenlyside/London Symphony Chorus

Evening Standard, 20 March 2017
In effect a wake-up call for the dead, this movement encouraged the excellent London Symphony Chorus to catch the apocalyptic mood, the orchestra blazing suitably at the prospect of resurrection.
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Classical Source, 20 March 2017
Polished playing was to the fore in the Andante, LSO strings wonderfully poised, especially just before the entry of the clarinet theme, which gave this passage a feeling of tragedy.
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Bachtrack, 20 March 2017
When required, the London Symphony Chorus produced a full body of sound, with the fearless sopranos particularly impressive in faster passages, but they also maintained a legato line with focused tone in quieter moments, such as in the concluding movement where the “dass sie ruhen” was delivered with a commendable steadiness.
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MusicOMH, 20 March 2017
The hushed strings at the beginning of the first movement were mellow, and perfectly together, and the introduction of the opening theme in the woodwind was delicately handled; the nuances of dynamic in the second movement were adroitly observed, and the little woodwind dance before the crashing timpani breathed of the pastoral.
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The Times, 22 March 2017
Simon Keenlyside and Julia Kleiter were luxury soloists, and the LSO matched the singers with transparent textures and finely etched lines.
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Opera Today, 22 March 2017
Rich, fulsome playing from the LSO, luminous singing from the LSO Chorus. The German Requiem concluded in transcendance.
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Thursday 16 March 2017

Beethoven/Brahms – Fabio Luisi/Igor Levit

Classical Source, 17 March 2017
Levit gave a brilliant yet thoughtful account, with a wide range of touch and dynamics, and some fleet tempos in the outer movements, although there was no lack of reflection in the first one, peering into the music’s interior, moments of privacy amid the public ceremony.
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Bachtrack, 17 March 2017
There were some particularly fine moments, including an exquisite horn solo towards the end of the first movement handing over to the LSO's luscious strings, the silvery cellos at the opening of the second movement and some very fine wind ensemble work.
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The Times, 20 March 2017
[Igor Levit] deliver the solo part in Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto with a fierce muscularity tempered by delicate passages that hovered just above inaudibility.
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Seen and Heard, 20 March 2017
The E flat rondo finale unfolded with great energy and vivacity, Luisi allowing voices, particularly in the woodwind, to emerge without any kind of underlining.
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Sunday 12 March 2017

Brahms/Strauss – Susanna Mälkki/Christian Tetzlaff

Classical Source, 13 March 2017
A beautifully poised oboe solo from Oliver Stankiewicz initiated the slow movement, where charm and sensitivity were uppermost.
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Bachtrack, 14 March 2017
There was much to admire in Tetzlaff's rendition: plush in tone and with particularly fine bowing in the quieter moments when he filed the sound down to a gossamer-thin thread that pushed the bounds of audibility, but without any weakening in stability.
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Seen and Heard, 14 March 2017
That Christian Tetzlaff has a virtuoso technique is without question. His intonation seemed faultless, and he played with tremendous energy.
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Saturday 4 March 2017 – Hoam Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

Shostakovich/Britten/Rachmaninov – Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann

I still believe beauty and worth spreading than human salvation. Thousands of people in Hanoi had a wonderful evening and I'm sure many of them will feel about living a more positive way.
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The satisfaction of the audience was apparent across each face, everyone listened intently until the end of each track is a long applause from the thousands of people following.
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As noted by PV newspaper messenger, not only Vietnamese people but also many foreign tourists greatly enjoy music while enjoying world-class in Hoan Kiem Lake promenade . They do not hesitate to sit down the road to get a position player.
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Applause gradually spread from the stage at the foot of the monument to the Ly Thai To Square Opera House and Dinh Tien Hoang Street, where two big screen TV directly. Viewers through the screen much larger inside, passionate. A musical feast chic, great on many strewn pavements of the capital Hanoi.
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Perhaps this is the first time, the square Ly Thai To Monument to witness an exciting spectacle to the world: thousands of people, quiet, immersed in music together, sharing happiness.
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For almost two hours, more than 90 musicians and the young conductor Benjamin Niklas Hoffmann proved one thing: Hanoi audiences who really love music and have the ability to enjoy the climax works.
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Outdoor concert Vietnam Airlines Classic - Hanoi Concert 2017 ended in the joy of all those involved.
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Concert ends in the whole excitement of the participants. For the first time, even in the capital, thousands of people were sitting next to each other, in silence and to enjoy the arts scholar with the top artists in the world. This may be an unforgettable experience for the audience present at the program and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Artists like Tung Duong Vietnam, Hong Nhung, Huy Tuan spend winged words to express the perfection of sumptuous musical feast that London Symphony Orchestra gave audience.

Musician Huy Tuan wrote on facebook: "Many concerns about Symphony outdoor demonstration was abolished after the audience witnessed the sound quality is almost perfect last night."

Tung Duong also very impressed with the concert. He shared personal page: "London Symphony Orchestra, the elegant and very wise thinking. Rachmaninoff's Symphony N2 is used to it. Particularly impressed with the work of the layered vocal sea of composer Benjamin Britten British (20th century). A real dark ... more emotional. "

Singer Hong Nhung also thanks to the organizational unit of a great night.

Truong Anh Quan musicians also wrote: "There is little doubt before listening to classical music outdoors, in public places, through the sound system ... But this is a classic program the best I have ever heard in Vietnam ".
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Often, people will only enjoy the performances by the symphony orchestra of the theater, or the gaudy stage and luxury. So it rarely, especially in Vietnam alone, everyone is doing the audience of a concert in the open in the middle of public space as a pedestrian street with the participation of the 5th Symphony uy the world's credit from London.
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Wednesday 15 February 2017

Mark-Anthony Turnage/Rachmaninov – John Wilson/Håkan Hardenberger

Evening Standard, 16 February 2017
Certainly Wilson did a more than competent job of holding this substantial score, by turns wildly exuberant and uncannily expressive, together.
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The Guardian, 16 February 2017
Passion and excitement blended with lucidity. There wasn’t a trace of self-indulgence anywhere. The LSO were on exemplary form, the brass rich and noble, a warm sheen on the strings and woodwind playing of exceptional sincerity and elegance.
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Classical Source, 16 February 2017
So if the LSO’s recent conductors in this work are akin to those changes Antonio Conte makes at Chelsea Football Club this season, the LSO – like Chelsea – remains top of the League, unbeatable in this work, one’s interest centring upon Wilson’s recently-demonstrated approach to the score.
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Wednesday 8 February 2017

The Jonas Kaufman Residency – Sir Antonio Pappano/Jonas Kaufman/Karita Mattila/Eric Halfvarson

Evening Standard, 9 February 2017
Everything shifted up a gear for Act I of Die Walküre, in which Kaufmann as Siegmund was joined by Karita Mattila as an accomplished, engaging Sieglinde and Eric Halfvarson as a splendidly menacing Hunding, the latter reinventing his vocal line to spit out his rancorous hatred.
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Bachtrack, 9 February 2017
The LSO’s lower strings were on top form in driving the rhythm, producing richness and detail of tone. When, after the first timpani-laden climax, the chase motif was taken up again by the cellos, my jaw dropped at the richness and clarity of timbre coming from principal cellist Tim Hugh.
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Seen and Heard, 9 February 2017
There was much to admire in the lyrical, romantic warmth Pappano achieved from the splendid LSO.
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The Arts Desk, 9 February 2017
Continually hushed by Sir Antonio Pappano, the LSO accompanied with great discretion, allowing Kaufmann to use head voice without crooning.
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The Guardian, 9 February 2017
With the LSO sounding languidly opulent for Pappano, he gave us a carefully modulated display of soft singing, the words finely pointed, the dynamics immaculately shaded.
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Classical Source, 9 February 2017
Between them, they had unforgettable fire and generosity, with Pappano pouring petrol onto the LSO’s thrilling playing.
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MusicOMH, 8 February 2017
With the focus being on Wagner, the evening began with the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde with the London Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano, providing a clean and balanced sound, which positively radiated with beauty
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Financial Times, 10 February 2017
In this concert the high-octane performance came from Karita Mattila’s charismatic Sieglinde, who is still a force to reckon with.
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Sunday Express, 12 February 2017
Highlight was the Wagner concert with London Symphony Orchestra under Antonio Pappano in Act 1 of The Valkyrie, with Kaufmann as Siegmund, Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Sieglinde, and bass Eric Halfvarson as Hunding. A memorable evening.
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Sunday 5 February 2017

Sibelius/Bernstein/Nielsen – Sir Antonio Pappano/Janine Jansen

The Times, 7 February 2017
The excellent LSO woodwind were full of it, whether gambolling in the foamy spray of Sibelius’s Oceanides, or exquisitely blended in Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony (The Inextinguishable), providing blissful respite in their interplay in the slow movement amid an otherwise brawny display from a pumped-up conductor and swaggering orchestra.
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Daily Telegraph, 7 February 2017
[Janine Jansen] traced sweetly singing lines at the unaccompanied opening, rising to rapturous intensity and even fierce attack as the work grew.
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Bachtrack, 7 February 2017
To [Nielsen Symphony No 4] he brought firm control, and some finely-honed string playing, especially notable in one quietly exposed chromatic passage. Momentum was never in short supply and towards the end its climax was magisterial.
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Classical Source, 7 February 2017
... a 24-carat affair from start to finish. The music-making was of the highest order, a refinement of chamber detail, full-throated thunder, and the widest dynamic range, barely audible phrases allowed time to breathe, speak and cadence.
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Thursday 2 February 2017 – LSO St Luke's

BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert: Elisabeth Leonskaja

Daily Telegraph, 3 February 2017
Leonskaja managed to make the pompous rhetoric seem convincing by sheer force of personality, and ensured the intriguing harmonic turns and rare delicate moments shone out in all their bright, intricate detail. Rarely can this piece have had such a persuasive advocate.
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Thursday 26 January 2017

Brahms/Strauss – Alpesh Chauhan/Benjamin Grosvenor

The Times, 30 January 2017
Alpesh Chauhan had the full orchestra roaring and sighing completely at his command — it was genuinely exciting stuff
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Classical Source, 27 January 2017
[Grosvenor] reached the poetic heights in the Adagio, the closing trills and final ensemble dissolving ethereally – death and transfiguration thirty years before Strauss. You could hear a pin drop.
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Bachtrack, 27 January 2017
Certainly, the chamber-like delicacy of much of Grosvenor’s playing, ably supported by the LSO’s wind soloists and horn section, made this a reading of considerable subtlety, with the rhapsodic elements in the development section benefiting from a clarity of tone and phrasing.
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The Spectator, 7 February 2017
Chauhan knows how to give his musicians the space in which to be themselves, and the LSO woodwinds repaid that freedom tenfold.
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Saturday 21 January 2017 – Philharmonie Luxembourg

Mahler Symphony No 6 – Sir Simon Rattle

Le Quotidien, 22 January 2017
Dans un silence quasi-religieux pendant toute la représentation, le public a même respecté quelques secondes de silence après la dernière envolée des musiciens, avant de faire retentir de longs et intenses applaudissements amplement mérités. Bref, un très très grand moment !
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Friday 20 January 2017 – Philharmonie de Paris

Mahler Symphony No 6 – Sir Simon Rattle

Bachtrack, 23 January 2017
Entendre les violons du LSO est un plaisir de chaque instant, d’autant plus que Sir Simon les mâtine de portamento et de soufflets capiteux.
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Thursday 19 January 2017

Mark-Anthony Turnage/Mahler – Sir Simon Rattle

The Arts Desk, 20 January 2017
On this occasion, awe was often the only available response to the mastery of Mahler, the orchestra, Rattle and the fusion of all three.
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Evening Standard, 20 January 2017
The Andante moderato was exquisitely consoling in his hands, while the pounding march rhythms of the first movement and Scherzo were properly uncompromising.
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Classical Source, 20 January 2017
Consummately given by the LSO (sans violins) and Rattle, this is likely Turnage’s best larger work for orchestra in some years.
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Bachtrack, 20 January 2017
This was an outstanding performance, powerful, bristling with rampant energy and, at times, serenely sublime and transcendental.
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The Observer, 22 January 2017
Part of the excitement was in realising the degree to which Rattle, exacting to the last, will challenge every member of this fine orchestra: no room for complacency or sticking to the old, safe ways. Each is playing for his or her life. This is the start. There will be plenty more to say.
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Financial Times, 22 January 2017
Rattle’s conception is on another level, opening a window in the mind to vistas of mountains under a blue sky and terrifying glimpses into the abyss.
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The Guardian, 23 January 2017
Rattle drew grandly impassioned music-making from his players throughout, with the LSO strings in particular on soaring form.
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The Times, 23 January 2017
Delivered with soulful fervour by the London Symphony Orchestra, however, the piece also revealed a more romantic, even nostalgic side to Turnage that I’ve not heard.
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Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2017
No doubt about it; when Sir Simon Rattle stands in front of the LSO, something special happens.
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Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 January 2017

Ligeti Le grand macabre – Sir Simon Rattle/Peter Sellars

Daily Telegraph, 15 January 2017
there can be no doubt of the sheer theatrical flair with which Sellars marshals his forces or the urgent sincerity with which he makes his point.
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The Arts Desk, 15 January 2017
The apocalyptic trumpet fanfares are searingly brilliant, the LSO Chorus makes its mark as a revolting populace in the aisles of the stalls, and the final passacaglia – did everyone die or not? – tugs oddly at the heartstrings.
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Seen and Heard, 15 January 2017
At the heart, of course, was the LSO, on world-class form here under its Music Director Designate, Simon Rattle.
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Classical Source, 15 January 2017
Sir Simon Rattle’s affection for a score that ranges from fanfares for car-horns to solemn chorales and the most-tender love music filtered through Ligeti’s extraordinary parodistic and style-borrowing skills was evident throughout as he revealed layer upon layer of detail, and the breathtaking quality of the LSO’s playing only reconfirmed the opera and its composer as giants of modern music.
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Planet Hugill, 15 January 2017
we could appreciate in full the dazzle and subtlety of Ligeti's score, and Rattle drew some wondrous playing for the orchestra.
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Evening Standard, 16 January 2017
the stunning virtuosity of the score was all the more effective for the taut, disciplined delivery by the LSO under Rattle.
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Bachtrack, 16 January 2017
Rattle and the LSO handled all of this with panache: the comic parts were delivered with verve, the climaxes with energy and I don’t know that any other orchestra could deliver a more stunningly shimmering string sound.
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The Guardian, 16 January 2017
Musically, though, the performance under Rattle is superb. From the opening toccata played on car horns which parodies the canzona from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, to the radiant passacaglia that supports the final scene, everything in Ligeti’s score is heard more vividly than it could ever be in an opera house, and the playing of the LSO is astoundingly good.
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The Stage, 16 Januar 2017
this is a serious enterprise carried off with skill and musical precision. Rattle is in perfect control of one of the most significant scores of its period
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The Independent, 16 January 2017
Forty years on, this absurdist meditation on extremism and pleasure-addicted society, on a world poised on the edge of destruction, looks more timely than ever.
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The Times, 16 January 2017
All this was delivered with razor-sharp precision and unflagging zest by the London Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle’s incisive direction.
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Financial Times, 17 January 2017
Above all, Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra revealed Ligeti’s score in all its madcap brilliance.
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MusicOMH, 19 January 2017
Rattle proved to be the master of spotlighting every instrument so that it came into sharp focus.
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The Spectator, 21 January 2017
the performance at the Barbican, with the LSO in staggering form under Simon Rattle, and a uniformly impressive cast, as well as the LSO Chorus singing from the aisles, was as strong as I can imagine.
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The Observer, 22 January 2017
The music, rampantly and gleefully played, offered all the necessary wit and subversion.
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Sunday Express, 22 January 2017
There are splendid performances from Peter Hoare as drunken Piet the Pot, Elizabeth Watts as young lover Amanda and Heidi Melton as voracious Mescalina – all living for the day.
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Friday 13 January 2017

Bach/Telemann/Haydn – Giovanni Antonini/LSO Chamber Orchestra

Seen and Heard, 14 January 2017
The LSO’s playing had a grave, sonorous beauty
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Classical Source, 14 January 2017
The concert provided an excellent example of how to perform 18th-century music in appropriate style using modern forces.
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Sunday 18 December 2016

Mozart/Tchaikovsky – Nikolaj Znaider

Classical Source, 19 December 2016
In K207 the outer movements were sprightly, the execution needed to be agile, and it was, not least from ‘first among equals’ Znaider, technically flawless and directing occasionally (otherwise it was Roman Simovic literally leading) and unfurling the galant middle movement with intimacy.
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Seen and Heard, 20 December 2016
There was, to both concerto performances, a fine sense of collegiality, of chamber music, Znaider certainly the soloist in the sense of having the solo line, but in no sense assuming any position of superiority.
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Friday 16 December 2016 – Colston Hall, Bristol

Mozart/Tchaikovsky – Nikolaj Znaider

The Guardian, Sunday 18 December 2016
the LSO were on good form and the final bars realised a stirring, dramatic flourish.
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Wednesday 14 December 2016

Ravel/Shostakovich/Taplin/Mussorgsky orch Ravel – Fabien Gabel/James Ehnes

Classical Source, 15 December 2016
The LSO played superbly for Gabel, and he has that rare gift – he can make the familiar seem new-minted.
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The Times, 16 December 2016
Ehnes rode the rollercoaster with endurance and elegance, the central defiant message spelt out in the flickering of Shostakovich’s personal four-note motto: I’ve survived this far, I will survive again.
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Thursday 8 December 2016

Bartók/Stravinsky/John Adams – John Adams/Leila Josefowicz

The Arts Desk, 9 December 2016
Once again Josefowicz's posture as well as her playing breathed heroic defiance, a true feminist icon. What a magnificent, profoundly musical artist she is.
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Bachtrack, 9 December 2016
... in Adams and the LSO hands, every gently shifting twist and turn was treated with extraordinary refinement and the pungently individual genius of the work was splendidly revealed.
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Classical Source, 10 December 2016
The LSO similarly made the most of its intricate writing, suggesting this might prove to be among the more durable of its composer’s latter-day works.
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Seen and Heard, 10 December 2016
Simply brilliant woodwind and solo violin (leader Roman Simovic) in “Air de Danse” were a true delight. Simovic’s violin is, it has to be said, one of the loudest around. No problems with projection there.
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Sunday 4 December 2016

John Adams El Niño – John Adams/Joélle Harvey/Jennifer Johnson Cano/Daniel Bubeck/Brian Cummings/Nathan Medley/Davóne Tines/London Symphony Chorus/London Youth Choir

Evening Standard, 5 December 2016
The LSO delivered a virtuoso performance under Adams’ baton, with the London Symphony Chorus and London Youth Choir making their own impressive contributions.
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The Arts Desk, 5 December 2016
Adams' careful selection of instrumental colours to match brought forward amazingly expressive work from the LSO wind, while the brass helped to underline the mounting tension of Part Two and the violent snaps when the storm breaks.
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Bachtrack, 5 December 2016
Jennifer Johnson Cano was magnificent, especially in the settings of sublime poetry by Rosario Castellanos, conveying the emotional mysticism of conception and pregnancy in La anunciación, joined by Joélle Harvey for the agony and ecstasy of birth in Se Habla de Gabriel.
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The Times, 6 December 2016
The mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson-Caro and the soprano Joélle Harvey sang with poise and deep conviction, electrified by the sparkling figures for woodwind, chimes and strings that Adams uses to illuminate the quickening and the birth, and the percussive smack and snarl of Herod’s reprisals.
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Financial Times, 6 December 2016
Ultimately, the clinching factor was Adams himself, not just presiding with a composer's authority, but giving his music at its climaxes an authentic, burning intensity.
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The Independent, 6 December 2016
This concert performance conducted by the man himself allowed the five excellent soloists to occupy centre stage without distraction, with Davóne Tines’s lustrous bass-baritone playing off Jennifer Johnson Cano’s intimate mezzo and soprano Joélle Harvey’s pure-voiced Mary.
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Classical Source, 6 December 2016
The expansive, layered drama of the music proved quite substantial enough in this performance conducted by the composer with electric precision and from an LSO on superb form.
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MusicOMH, 6 December 2016
The soloists were also excellent, with Jennifer Johnson Cano standing out in particular. Her heartfelt performance of Castellanos’ La anunciación was beautifully measured as her mezzo-soprano felt sumptuous without seeming inappropriately flashy. Joélle Harvey displayed a sweet, feeling and yet suitably strong soprano while the darkness and richness of Davóne Tines’ bass-baritone was superbly tempered by an expansiveness of tone.
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Tuesday 29 & Wednesday 30 November 2016

Tchaikovsky/Prokofiev – Thomas Søndergård/Barry Douglas

The Arts Desk, 30 November 2016
As ever, the conductor’s sense of control and proportion were evident, but the solid orchestral tone, combined with the focussed drive directed squarely at the ending, brought an unforced logic to these final pages, the full intensity of Prokofiev’s symphonic statement now heard without a trace of restraint.
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Classical Source, 30 November 2016
Launching the work with bite and grim determination Søndergård was master of both the score and control of the LSO’s virtuosity on display: Philip Cobb’s trumpet tune which comes near the beginning of the great slow movement was perfect in every way and very moving; Olivier Stankiewicz’s oboe-playing was eloquent throughout, and Rachel Gough on bassoon produced an appropriate darkness whenever needed.
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Bachtrack, 30 November 2016
The LSO’s natural affinity for Prokofiev’s style and Søndergård’s keen sense of musical architecture was displayed to great effect, particularly in the soaring melodies of the slow, central movement.
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Thursday 24 November 2016

Rossini/Bruch/Strauss – Sir Antonio Pappano/Roman Simovic

Evening Standard, 25 November 2016
Pappano throws himself wholeheartedly into everything he does; his concerts with the LSO are special events, for the audience and, you suspect, the orchestra.
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Classical Source, 25 November 2016
LSO leader Roman Simovic stepped forward (Carmine Lauri took the chair) and gave a magnetic performance, rich in tone, intensely expressive, virtuosity and musicianship entwined, and with his mates in the orchestra and a knight on the podium, this was a fresh and vibrant account, especially eloquent and tender in the slow movement.
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The Times, 28 November 2016
Led by Tim Hugh, the quintet of solo cellos played the opening with grave beauty. Flute and cor anglais dazzled in the storm and the balmy echoes of the Alpine horn melodies that follow, and the spiccato bowing was thrilling.
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Thursday 10 November 2016

Ravel/Schumann/Dvorák – Pablo Heras-Casado/Renaud Capuçon

Classical Source, 11 November 2016
This is touching music of polish and sophistication and Pablo Heras-Casado and the LSO were in fine form, particularly the woodwind soloists.
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Sunday 6 November 2016

Steve Reich at 80 – Kristjan Järvi/Synergy Vocals

The Guardian, 7 November 2016
Järvi’s performance, urgent, almost fierce at times, caught its sense of surging, pulsing energy perfectly.
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Classical Source, 7 November 2016
And Järvi – like Reich more casually dressed than the tailed musicians, dark jacket over his burgundy T-shirt – had the measure of the overall architecture delivering the whole edifice with admirable clarity.
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Evening Standard, 7 November 2016
...the performance of The Desert Music (1982) showed that, given a committed conductor and willing musicians, the symphony orchestra can make itself fit for minimalist purpose.
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Sunday 30 October 2016 – Lincoln Center, New York

Verdi Requiem – Gianandrea Noseda/Erika Grimaldi/Daniela Barcellona/Giorgio Berrugi/Vitalij Kowaljow/London Symphony Chorus

New York Times, 1 November 2016
Mr. Noseda, an experienced Verdian, played the work’s theatricality to the hilt. The Tuba Mirum, depicting the last trumpet, with trumpeters positioned in opposite balconies joining those onstage, sounded for all the world like the Triumphal March from “Aida.”
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Classical Source, 31 October 2016
The LSO once again impressed with its ability to produce a wide variety of dynamics, expressions and moods, as well as with its virtuosity, such as in the blazingly fast and intense ‘Dies Irae’, during which the brass and the strings shone.
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Opera Teen, 31 October 2016
And when played and conducted with such attention to detail and overall largesse as it was by the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, incoming Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, on Sunday, the result was a rejuvenating instance of the intersection of music and spirituality and the cause of the longest ovation I have heard in my years of concert going.
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Saturday 29 October 2016 – NJPAC, New Jersey

Wagner/Ravel/Shostakovich – Gianandrea Noseda/Yuja Wang

Culture Magazine, 30 October 2016
This is perhaps the most ebullient curtain-raiser in the Wagner canon. Here, it featured the sonorous tone of the LSO horns, answered by the upswell of the strings before the trumpets led a bold and dignified march. The glory of this performance was the complicated fugue section in the middle, started by the piccolo and flute and eventually giving way to an extended solo for the tuba.
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Friday 28 October 2016 – Lincoln Center, New York

Wagner/Ravel/Shostakovich – Gianandrea Noseda/Yuja Wang

New York Times, 1 November 2016
Marvels of technical display no longer come as a surprise from Ms. Wang. But what truly amazed here was her touch at the start, as plush and lovely as I have ever heard from a pianist.
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Classical Source, 29 October 2016
Throughout, textures were worked out to retain ultimate clarity. The woodwinds (most notably the first flute) were once again excellent, the brass was solid, all underpinned by admirable string-playing, in terms of virtuosity and variety of timbres.
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New Criterion, 1 November 2016
I have not said very much about this performance—uncharacteristically little. I found that I just listened to the symphony, without doing much criticizing, mentally. That is a form of praise. Indeed, high praise.
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Sunday 16 & Thursday 20 October 2016

Mendelssohn – Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Alina Ibragimova

Classical Source, 17 October 2016
Gardiner and his forces performed with enormous conviction and swagger, delivering old certainties of sacred and secular pride in a way to make your eyes prick.
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Bachtrack, 17 October 2016
An underbelly of arpeggios punctuated the principal themes on the strings with sublime harmony while the luscious waltz theme of the second movement was incandescently light and slow enough to be savoured.
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Sunday Times, 23 October 2016
But the affirmatory motto theme linked to Bach and Mozart, the incorporation, as in Mendelssohn’s earlier Reformation symphony, of a Lutheran hymn and the work’s occasion as a 400th anniversary tribute to Johannes Gutenberg all made it seem, in the context of my week, and in this hugely invigorating account, another symphonic palimpsest of German history.
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Sunday 25 September 2016

Sheen/Sibelius/Mahler – Daniel Harding/Nikolaj Znaider

Bachtrack, 26 September 2016
Beginning with the beautifully hushed opening, from which the solo violin only gradually emerged – a mesmerising moment that similarly characterised the opening of the slow movement - this was a rhapsodic, even at times indulgent interpretation.
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Seen and Heard, 26 September 2016
Harding’s account of the Fourth was full of lilting grace and charm and the LSO were at their most Romantic throughout nearly all of its 60 minutes.
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Classical Source, 26 September 2016
... the LSO’s horns covered themselves in glory, secure and beautifully balanced.
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The Times, 27 September 2016
Arguments over a perceived pecking order among the London orchestras are seldom useful, but the sheer beauty of the sounds produced by the LSO violins in the first bars of the Sibelius was breathtaking.
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Thursday 22 September 2016

Debussy/Haydn/Shostakovich – Gianandrea Noseda/Philip Cobb

Classical Source, 23 September 2016
In between, Philip Cobb (LSO Principal) played Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with brilliance and crispness, a sure sense of line – the slow movement was phrased lovingly and with golden tone – and he was vitally accompanied by his colleagues (hard-stick timpani a particular pleasure), the whole wrapped by a dashing Finale.
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Bachtrack, 23 September 2016
Noseda showed mastery over the score by navigating all the subtle and fluid changes of pace and timbre, and creating effective swells in the music by folding in layers of different textures and tone colours. Vibrant shimmering strings, bright winds and warm chocolatey brass pervaded the first movement before turning to the second movement...
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Seen and Heard, 26 September 2016
... tonight I had the feeling of the drama of the symphony unfolding there and then; as though Noseda  had exceeded the rehearsed template in the very ‘live’ event witnessed tonight.
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Sunday 18 & Tuesday 20 September 2016

Verdi Requiem – Gianandrea Noseda/Erika Grimaldi/Daniela Barcellona/Francesco Meli/Michele Pertusi/London Symphony Chorus

Bachtrack, 19 September 2016
With virtuosic playing, Noseda extracted every ounce of drama from this Verdian masterpiece. Small wonder that the conductor kissed the score at the end.
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The Guardian, 19 September 2016
Mezzo Daniela Barcellona was by turns hieratic and humane: the dreadful implications of the Liber Scriptus really hit home for once. And soprano Erika Grimaldi sang as if her life depended on it. Thrilling, all of it.
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Financial Times, 19 September 2016
Above all, he seemed to enjoy pinpointing the exact dramatic content of every line. Was he trying to remind us that Verdi was first and foremost an opera composer?
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The Times, 20 September 2016
Noseda relished Verdi’s theatricality and melodrama: the day-of-judgment trumpets split between stage and balcony just behind offered surround-sound terror, the strings and baritone soloist shuddered with spine-tingling effect in Mors stupebit, while the weeping lines of the Lacrimosa were full of imploring beauty.
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Classical Source, 20 September 2016
Verdi’s Requiem is frequently heard nowadays, but this performance was in a communicative league of its own, with Noseda turning its perceived failing as a work trapped between church and opera-house to the greatest possible advantage.
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Seen and Heard, 23 September 2016
... the London Symphony Chorus were excellent and the LSO magnificent, as ever. It is obvious they have a good rapport with Noseda ...
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Sunday Express, 25 September 2016
Sitting in the middle of the auditorium a few rows from the conductor’s podium was similar to being in the eye of the storm. After the hushed Introit and rising notes of the Kyrie, the massed London Symphony Chorus erupted like a great beast, unleashed by the conductor into the terrifying Dies Irae – the day of wrath.
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The Observer, 25 September 2016
... the LSC sang for their lives. Taking the Sanctus at a white-hot sprint – no hanging around here – Noseda coaxed from them superbly unified singing. In the ferocious Dies Irae they snapped and raged like fourscore angry dogs. Elsewhere they were nimble and ethereal. Whether in brass fanfares, operatic-like woodwind solos or pianissimo string writing, the orchestra always responded precisely to Noseda’s mix of grace and intensity ... this was an exhilarating evening and a ringing endorsement of Noseda’s appointment, were any needed.
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Sunday Times, 25 September 2016
The recurrent “Dies irae” tutti explosions can rarely have seemed more threatening to a building’s fabric.
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Sunday Telegraph, 25 September 2016
The orchestra was on wonderful form, summoning up the awesome majesty of the Last Judgement and the delicacy of the Agnus Dei with equal finesse. The London Symphony Chorus were no less magnificent, flinging out the fugue of the final Libera Me with complete authority. (*****)
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Phil Cobb and Gerry Ruddock taking a bow