The Damnation of Faust – MusicOMH

The orchestra was brilliant throughout, providing some magical moments: the lightest of string tones at the opening of Parts 1 and 3; the woodwind’s uncannily accurate representation of a military silver-band for the Marche Hongroise, the dark brooding quality of the opening of Part 2; the perfect Second-Empire sound of muted woodwind and brass, trembling strings and soft timpani for the opening of the Easter Hymn; and just the right touch of the gothic for the terrifying gallop for the Course d’abîme, where Berlioz’s writing is at its most florid, and care needs to be taken not to stray into camp overstatement (it feels as though it needs only the addition of coconut hoof-beats for it to tip into comedy).
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The Damnation of Faust – The Guardian

The velvety flow of the opening minutes, the electrifying buoyancy of the soldiers’ marches in Part 1, the throbbing double-bass heartbeats underlying Marguerite’s lament – the performance was full of memorable cameos, joining together seamlessly to form a rich and vivid picture.
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2017/18 season opening concert – The Scotsman

Exuberantly colourful and displaying a real melodic gift, [Helen Grime's] five-minute work traversed a brilliant series of sound-worlds, drawing on each section of the orchestra in turn, from high woodwinds to tuned percussion to violins, harp and celeste.
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The Damnation of Faust – Bachtrack

The devil really does get the best tunes and Rattle ensured a demonic gallop into hell before that celestial finale.
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2017/18 season opening concert – Bachtrack

Now that he’s finally back with us again, the British public is in for the most amazing future: we’re once again going to hear music like we’ve really never heard it before. This is Rattle.
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The Damnation of Faust – The Times

And if the LSO-Rattle era unfolds in similar style, we’re in for some thrilling concerts. The orchestra sounded fabulous and the LSO Chorus was on fiery, agile form as, variously, soldiers, students, peasants, gnomes, sylphs, demons and the damned.
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2017/18 season opening concert – The Observer

This was a rigorous, uplifting kick-off for the LSO’s Rattle years, with all to play for.
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The Damnation of Faust – Seen and Heard

Orchestrally, perhaps the exceptional viola solos of Alexander Zemtsov in the “Ballad of the King of Thule” merit a spotlight of their own, but one has to acknowledge overall that this was the London Symphony Orchestra at its very best.
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2017/18 season opening concert – Seen and Heard

The LSO played with tremendous commitment: one didn’t need to see the instrumentalists’ smiles to recognise the excitement and enthusiasm with which they are welcoming their new musical director.  This programme made enormous demands and they certainly rose to the occasion.
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The Damnation of Faust – Evening Standard

As Faust’s fantasy beloved Marguerite, Karen Cargill was appropriately demure and ardent, in telling contrast to Christopher Purves’s Mephistopheles: singers don’t come much more infernal than Purves, who balances perfectly between malevolence and charm.
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2017/18 season opening concert – Thoroughly Good

Rattle began his formal public-facing relationship with the LSO with a bold statement of intent – a programme celebrating British composers that gives the UK concert scene a shot in the arm. A bold start to a new relationship a lot of us have considerable hopes pinned on.
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The Damnation of Faust – The Arts Desk

Cargill was not the only one visibly affected by the evening’s closing coup de théâtre, as rank upon rank of children from the Tiffin School gradually filled the floor of the stalls to play their part in Berlioz’s sublimely extended epilogue, which on this occasion was not a bar too long. I would gladly return for the repeat performance on Tuesday just to hear the last five minutes again.
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2017/18 season opening concert – The Guardian

As a whole, though, the concert was hugely impressive; the start of this new era for the LSO could hardly have been more auspicious.
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