Reviews 2015/16 season


Friday 29 July 2016: BBC Proms 2016

Bernard Haitink/Sarah Connolly/LSC Ladies/Tiffin Boys' Choir – Mahler Symphony No 3

The Arts Desk, 30 July 2016
LSO horns resonated into the colosseum’s space in that godlike opening unison, Haitink giving the second phrase just a little more room. All solos were full, dramatic, polished: that a trombonist (Dudley Bright, none better) at one o’clock in the circle can make a listener at seven o’clock jump out of his skin says it all.
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Classical Source, 30 July 2016
The Finale is music to which Haitink has always held the key and many were profoundly affected by the LSO’s unforced, always linear traversal. Again the conducting offered no false consolation, moving quite swiftly forward without micro-management.
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Seen and Heard, 30 July 2016
The expansive finale (“Langsam. Ruhevoll. Empfunden”) was simply superb, hushed yet with momentum and blessed with a gorgeously warm string sound. The unfolding was very natural, brass-encrusted climaxes resonating deeply and a solo flute and clarinet offering real hope and consolation. True, some have plumbed yet deeper, but Haitink’s reading will surely remain a true highlight of the 2016 Proms.
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MusicOMH, 30 July 2016
Despite his sell-effacing nature, and ever the servant of the music, this was Haitink’s night. Combined with thrilling playing from the LSO, this will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of this year’s Proms.
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Opera Today, 31 July 2016
There was no doubt that this was a march: how could there be with the LSO drummers on such magnificent form? But there was far more to the LSO’s performance than military might: this was Mahler with great warmth and unanimity of attack.
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The Times, 1 August 2016
Sarah Connolly’s rich mezzo gave eloquent voice to unfathomable Nietzsche, but the star soloist was Nicholas Betts, soaring high and radiant on the off-stage flugelhorn.
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The Independent, 1 August 2016
... all the moments which required a particular magic got it – the martial music heralding summer, the off-stage flugelhorn heard through hushed high strings, the children’s choir at the moment of redemption, and mezzo Sarah Connolly’s lovely entry – ‘O Mensch! Gib acht!’ – which seemed to rise up from the bowels of the earth. The sustained tracery of melodies in the final movement passed like a dream.
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Bachtrack, 1 August 2016
Throughout, the thousands of people packed into the Royal Albert Hall stood or sat transfixed, not moving, but instead transported by one of those rare moments of collective transcendence.
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Sunday Times, 7 August 2016
Haitink’s Mahler, recalling his overwhelming account of the work at the Barbican a few years back, had a transcendent clarity: the LSO, sounding vigorous and enthused and quite un-denatured by the hall’s acoustics, evinced a needlepoint precision in even the most blustery passages.
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Saturday 2 July 2016: Palacio Carlos V, Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Sir Simon Rattle – Elgar/Rachmaninov

Ideal.es, 3 July 2016
Noche para el recuerdo. Broche de oro de las grandes orquestas londinenses. Disfrutamos como hacía tiempo que no sucedía. La magia de un director, la belleza de un programa y la calidad de una orquesta. Nos felicitamos por ello.
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Granada Hoy, 3 July 2016
Fabuloso el conjunto orquestal, expresivo en una partitura con gran protagonismo de los violines. Y la gran oportunidad de ver a Rattle dirigiendo en directo. Nombrado caballero por la Reina de Inglaterra en 1994 , ha recibido muchas otras distinciones, todas merecidas, verlo dirigir es inolvidable.
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El País, 3 July 2016
Magistrales transiciones y brillantes contrastes, pero también filigranas en la madera con una memorable actuación del clarinetista Andrew Marriner en el famoso Adagio.
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El Mundo, 3 July 2016
La presentación del maestro Simon Rattle en el Festival de Granada con la London Symphony Orchestra quedará marcada como uno de los acontecimientos de la vida artística de la ciudad dada la trascendencia de su actuación.
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La Razón, 4 July 2016
Soberbios corno y clarinete y asombrosa la cuerda, tanto la aguda como la grave, con acordes de ésta que sorprendían aún a los conocedores de la estupenda agrupación.
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Thursday 30 June 2016

Sir Simon Rattle/Krystian Zimerman – Ives/Beethoven/Rachmaninov

The Guardian, 1 July 2016
The entire thing was so gloriously played by the LSO – the textures securely founded on the row of double basses arrayed across the back of the orchestra on the highest platform level – that the effect was overwhelming.
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Financial Times, 1 July 2016
Above all, what a string sound Rattle gets out of the LSO. With the basses spread across the back wall, the full orchestra sound seemed rich and beautiful even in this hall.
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Classical Source, 1 July 2016
Zimerman immediately found soul and poetry to begin the Beethoven, which was reciprocated by the LSO
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Sunday Telegraph, 3 July 2016
This concert was a reminder of the difference that Rattle has already made by his regular presence this season ... The quality of the LSO's sound has been transformed, a change evident in the cosmic stillness of The Unanswered Question.

Seen and Heard, 3 July 2016
Clarinetist Andrew Marriner tapped into the composer’s trademark rhapsodic mode in the Adagio and his effulgent melodicism and nuanced cantilena was appreciated by Rattle, earning Marriner a hug during the final applause.
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The Times, 5 July 2016
This was an evening of provocative gestures and conspicuous virtuosity, blast and counterblast, in which the least conventional work in the programme, Charles Ives’s The Unanswered Question, was the most conventionally interpreted.
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Sunday 26 June 2016

Sir Simon Rattle et al – Sir Peter Maxwell Davies The Hogboon/Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

The Arts Desk, 27 June 2016
It’s a measure of the man that his final work, The Hogboon, should fill a stage with hundreds of children, professional singers beside students and amateurs, a world-class orchestra – and Sir Simon Rattle; that it should be as rich and complex as it needed to be, with no concessions to its younger performers. Max lived out his belief that his art was genuinely to be made for everyone, and that children "must get their hands dirty in the music".
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The Guardian, 27 June 2016
It was remarkable how Rattle and his diverse forces achieved near flawless ensemble, with extraordinary finesse to the string tone, exceptional energy in the brass and striking vitality from the woodwind.
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Seen and Heard, 27 June 2016
It seems to me the very model of a community opera, offering a good story and good music both to amateurs, indeed to children, and to professionals; this was an opportunity and an experience many of those taking part are unlikely ever to forget. We need to do much more of this sort of thing, and who could set a better example than the LSO and Simon Rattle?
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Financial Times, 27 June 2016
Rattle led a lively performance, directed for the stage by Karen Gillingham, with an able cast led by confident young Sebastian Exall as pint-sized hero Magnus.
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Daily Telegraph, 27 June 2016
The music finds Maxwell Davies at his most inclusive and celebratory, but also satisfyingly weird and dissonant.
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The Times, 27 June 2016
Worries that extra forces would lead to clogged textures were banished within moments; instead Rattle brought a lean, keen edge to music that’s too often treated as a series of lurid postcards, and in doing so ratcheted up the tension to thrilling heights. In a word, fantastique.
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Evening Standard, 27 June 2016
Rattle completed the evening with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, with the LSO augmented by players from the Guildhall School, beefing up the harp section to six, the double-basses to an even dozen. The result? A minimal loss of subtle detail, an exponential growth in raw and raucous energy.
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The Independent, 28 June 2016
Strikingly, the children’s choruses portraying the fearsome Nuckleavee were no mere add-on texture but sat at the heart of the enterprise, and when everybody united at the end to sing “God bless you all. Goodbye”, it felt like a very personal farewell.
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The Observer, 3 July 2016
I can say there was an enchanting “Panic! Horror! Shivers, sweats and turmoil!” chorus, a Good Witch (Claudia Huckle), a princess, a cat, a bat, a storm, a great cast – including Katherine Broderick and Peter Auty – and monster enjoyment to be had by all.
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Sunday Times, 3 July 2016
The skill with which Davies has integrated diverse age groups and abilities, and fused the cheeriest choral and vocal writing with orchestral invention of real substance, is manifest; as was Rattle's in presiding over a huge feat of co-ordination.
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Thursday 9 June 2016

Harding/Batiashvili – Dvorák/Bartók

Classical Source, 10 June 2016
Batiashvili gave a gutsy account of music that has wit (even suggesting a Till Eulenspiegel scale at one point), folksy liveliness and melodic sweep; she attacked the solo part and soared with it. The LSO and Harding were faithful partners, sensitive and deft.
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Sunday 5 June 2016

Harding/Larsson/Persson/LSC – Mahler Symphony No 2

Classical Source, 6 June 2016
Honours can be shared around but the top accolade must go to Harding whose gut-wrenching way with so much of this music bore down on a capacity audience. It was a privilege to be there.
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Bachtrack, 6 June 2016
The final pages of the symphony were suitably transcendent, with orchestra, soloists, and chorus filling the hall with blazing sound.
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Seen and Heard, 6 June 2016
All the performers – and many in the audience from the ovation which followed – were palpably swept up in the music: the excellent chorus; Anna Larsson; soprano Miah Persson who sang expressively; and the impeccable London Symphony Orchestra.
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MusicOMH, 9 June 2016
With soprano soloist Miah Persson soaring radiantly over both chorus and orchestra, the closing, ecstatic pages of the symphony were suitably earth-shattering, and were a fitting climax to such a monumental performance, cementing Harding’s position at the forefront of Mahler conductors.
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Sunday 29 May 2016

Pappano/Znaider – Beethoven/Elgar

The Arts Desk, 30 May 2016
Of the many miracles of co-ordination, the violinist-conductor’s response to shadowy orchestral undermining played out in the most magically adjusted of trills, as dramatic a moment as Siegfried's taking the Gibichung’s potion of forgetfulness in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.
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Classical Source, 30 May 2016
This edge-of-seat performance was not only transporting but also emotionally and psychologically involving. The LSO, as it always does for Pappano, gave everything and then a bit extra.
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The Guardian, 31 May 2016
Charismatic Nikolaj Znaider was the soloist, sweet-toned yet assertive, elegant and forthright in his phrasing.
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The Times, 1 June 2016
The arms sliced and swirled; the mouth kept puckering. We quickly felt volcanic heat and the throb of an orchestra with its blood up, racing towards the fortissimo blaze.
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The Sunday Times, 5 June 2016
in the first half of Pappano’s Barbican programme, I was struck by the positively Stravinskyan way the opening of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto — a tremendously robust performance by Nikolaj Znaider — is constantly recycled to generate the first movement, almost as if he were the violinist in The Soldier’s Tale.
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Wednesday 25 May 2016: National Forum of Music, Wroclaw

Strauss/Elgar – Sir Antonio Pappano

Elgar would have been well pleased. Unlike the relatively unresponsive London audience at the première of his Second Symphony, whom he described as “stuffed pigs”, here was a foreign public who intuitively understood this quintessentially English composer and was deeply moved by the immensity of emotions expressed. At least in Poland, Britannia and the LSO still rule the musical waves.
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Thursday 19 May 2016

Pappano/Mullova – Shostakovich/Mahler

The Times, 24 May 2016
The LSO took this onslaught in its stride, from the muscular harpists and fierce woodwinds to Patrick Harrild’s tuba, memorably descending at one point like a hippopotamus sliding into the mud. I’ve heard more tragic Sixths in my time, performances that dug deeper and left a wet brow, but never one so purely enjoyable as a hard, brilliant torrent of sound.
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Seen and Heard, 20 May 2016
The springy, tense syncopations of the Burlesque finale propelled the movement to a breakneck conclusion.  This was spellbinding playing.
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Classical Source, 20 May 2016
The overriding impression of what Nigel Kennedy might call this “monster” concert is the continuing close relationship between Antonio Pappano and the LSO and their collective and unflagging dedication on behalf of mus
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Sunday 8 May 2016

Flor/Andsnes – Mozart/Bruckner

The Guardian, 10 May 2016
This was typically classy stuff from Andsnes – playing that didn’t draw undue attention to itself, and yet was far too nuanced and alive to be described as understated.
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Bachtrack, 9 May 2016
There was some magnificent playing from many quarters that highlighted the lush writing for the strings, particularly in the final few moments of the symphony. Timpanist Antoine Bedewi was almost sensational – his playing cut through and over the brass with both punch and colour.
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Classical Source, 9 May 2016
The LSO responded with wonderfully eloquent playing, the wind-band that figures so strongly in this music delivered sounds so beautiful and expressive, and so in accord with Andsnes’s approach, that one could only wonder at the perfection of it all.
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Saturday 7 May 2016: Brighton Festival

Flor/Andsnes – Mozart/Bruckner

The Argus, 9 May 2016
the orchestra’s magnificent performance brought out its majestic moments, with the brass controlled yet forceful in brilliantly delivering Bruckner’s highly personal musical message.
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Thursday 28 April 2016

Elder/Tiberghien/Alder – Butterworth/Vaughan Williams/Ravel/Debussy

Classical Source, 29 April 2016
What a combined colour viola and flute make, and there was some unbelievably rapt string-playing. Philip Cobb’s solo on the natural trumpet (played standing adjacent to the basses) was a thing of wonder.
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Bachtrack, 29 April 2016
Elder’s pacing of the music was ideal, both expansive and, where called for, energised. The LSO string and wind soloists each made their mark, no more so than Philip Cobbs’s evocative trumpet call
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Seen and Heard International, 29 April 2016
Sir Mark conducted a most sensitive, finely judged and paced performance. In the first movement he patiently let the music unfold, bringing out its inner harmonic tensions and its quite stark orchestral colours and timbres with great skill.
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Sunday 24 April 2016

Elder/Coote/Clayton/Finley/LSC – Elgar The Dream of Gerontius

Daily Telegraph, 25 April 2016
What an experience! When Gerontius came to the pearly gates and the orchestra explodes in a lightning orgasm of ecstatic pain, I closed my eyes and wondered if I might have gone to meet my Maker.
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Classical Source, 25 April 2016
Irrespective of anyone’s religious faith or lack of it, Elder and the LSO’s Dream of Gerontius was a profound spiritual experience that will not be forgotten either quickly or lightly. No incense, just inspiration.
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The Times, 27 April 2016
The LSO strings played with austere, radiant majesty, but Elder let the voices of doubt speak too: the violas of the Prelude serious and beautiful, transforming into ghostly whispers in the hush of Part II.
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Seen and Heard, 27 April 2016
There was a flow and inevitability about the reading that made the entire performance one large span. The orchestra responded splendidly to Elder’s clear but expressive beat; the chorus, too, followed superbly, their sound perfectly balanced (chorus master Simon Halsey). Brass glowed, while the opening melody blossomed out fabulously.
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Sunday 17 April 2016

Rattle/Eder/Staples/Boesch/LSC – Haydn The Seasons

The Times, 18 April 2016
It was this relaxed charm that breathed most strongly from this performance, for which Rattle pared down the strings and carefully spotlit the other instruments’ more dramatic incursions.
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The Guardian, 18 April 2016
There was wit and humour throughout, but also great majesty as pealing brass suggested the grandeur of God revealed in creation. Oboe and bassoon obbligatos were impeccably played.
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Financial Times, 18 April 2016
Rattle has lost none of his youthful enjoyment of the music and Haydn’s pictorial effects — did the cock ever crow with more rasping joy? — were played up wittily.
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Classical Source, 18 April 2016
The trimmed-down LSO (strings, 10/10/8/6/4) played magnificently, as did the rest of the Orchestra in terms of individual and corporate musical delight.
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MusicOMH, 18 April 2016
Haydn’s work, of course, rises above the text and forms one of the greatest of all oratorios, allowing The London Symphony Orchestra to shine in every department, commandingly overseen by Sir Simon Rattle, whose love for the piece was evident in every bar.
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Thursday 14 April 2016

Rattle/Aimard – Messiaen/Bruckner

The Guardian, 15 April 2016
Rattle’s ear for balance and clarity makes him an ideal Messiaen conductor. Under his attentive direction, the LSO percussion and wind players delivered the full sonic spectrum of the composer’s visionary Couleurs de la Cité Céleste, with the Messiaen specialist Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing the work’s glittering piano part.
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Evening Standard, 15 April 2016
As with the preceding movements, every bar of the finale was stamped with both urgency and gravity, blazing to a stirring peroration. The players of the LSO covered themselves with glory, as they had done with the preceding performance of Messiaen’s Couleurs de la Cité Céleste.
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Financial Times, 15 April 2016
It also triggered genuine passion in these musicians, who clearly love playing under him; let’s hope it’s a love affair that lasts when Rattle starts his new job in September next year.
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The Arts Desk, 15 April 2016
Such talk of pillars and cathedrals could only be wide of the mark in the wake of this unconventional, beautifully prepared and deeply humane performance by the London Symphony Orchestra and their principal conductor designate, Sir Simon Rattle.
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Bachtrack, 15 April 2016
The loud brass-and-timpani-led tutti have to be truly epic. The LSO nailed them. The biggest of these was the opening of the fourth of the movement, where the trombones took the lead in driving us forward in the most thrilling fashion: it was one of the most gripping moments of any concert I’ve ever been to.
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Classical Source, 15 April 2016
Utilising the fullest extent of the Barbican platform, Rattle secured impressive unanimity of ensemble in music whose outwardly unpredictable events belie a systematic formal trajectory
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Seen and Heard, 17 April 2016
Overall, this was an evening of first rate playing from the LSO particularly the brass (in the Bruckner) and percussionists (in the Messiaen). Rattle clearly enjoys an excellent rapport with the players so I hope their relationship will continue to move from strength to strength.
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The Times, 18 April 2016
The burnished sonority was one revelation. The other was how exciting Rattle made Bruckner sound.
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Tuesday 12 April 2016: Philharmonie de Paris

Bachtrack (FR), 17 April 2016
En jugeant la qualité de ce concert, la collaboration entre Simon Rattle et le LSO promet d'être remarquable.
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Thursday 7 April 2016

Gilbert/Trifonov – Sibelius/Prokofiev/Nielsen

Classical Source, 8 April 2016
Alan Gilbert seems to have hit the ground running in his first engagements with the LSO. There was a palpable positive connection that should ensure numerous return bookings.
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Seen and Head International, 9 April 2016
[Trifonov's] array of staggering diversity was projected with real musical understanding and a quite stunning delivery of the long kaleidoscopic cadenza... This was impressive playing with empathetic and brilliant accompaniment from Gilbert and the LSO.
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Bachtrack, 9 April 2016
With this magnificent performance Daniil Trifonov set the seal on this trend, giving as complete and accomplished a performance as can be imagined, and making the work sound what it is – a modernist masterpiece, gripping from start to finish.
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Sunday 3 April 2016

Gilbert/Bell – Nielsen/Sibelius/Hillborg/Tchaikovsky

Evening Standard, 4 April 2016
It’s taken a long time for the London Symphony Orchestra to book New York-based conductor Alan Gilbert, but to judge from his debut concert, a long-term relationship seems likely.
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The Guardian, 5 April 2016
The first of two concerts opened sunnily with the overture to Nielsen’s opera Masquerade, Gilbert balancing the sound rewardingly and finessing it down to an arrestingly quiet pianissimo in the middle.
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The Times, 5 April 2016
Nothing but golden threads emerged from his violin, with tone and phrasings glamorous and finely tailored. Bell may give us new vistas and revelations when he plays, but he’s always a class act.
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Seen and Heard International, 4 April 2016
Silencing the orchestra’s initial assertions with grace and ease, Bell exuded confidence and this self-assurance, supported by superb technical proficiency, did not once lapse throughout the concerto.
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Classical Source, 4 April 2016
The rapport with Alan Gilbert (music director of the New York Philharmonic, in his LSO debut) was remarkable; the rendition [of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto] was one of supreme unity. 
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Sunday 20 March 2016

Harding/Gerhaher et al – Schumann Scenes from Goethe's Faust

The Arts Desk, 21 March 2016
Some of us have waited years for this. The opportunity to see Schumann’s largest, most ambitious work was not to be missed.
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Daily Telegraph, 21 March 2016
Harding conducted the excellent London Symphony Orchestra steadily and competently; Gerhaher sang with all his customary sensitivity and commitment, especially in Doctor Marianus’s final peroration.
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Classical Source, 21 March 2016
Harding’s sympathy with the music’s romantic and mystical sensibilities gave Gerhaher exactly the support he needed to work his uniquely connective magic as Faust. You could hear him bend the music to be true to the spirit of philosophical inwardness that spoke so strongly to Schumann, and his ability to draw the audience into the words as much as to the natural beauties of his voice was much in evidence.
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Bachtrack, 22 March 2016
Harding clearly adores the score and his understanding of its intricacies showed in the playing of the LSO, evoking both the pastoral and the supernatural with equal colour and intensity. Some lovely playing from harpist Bryn Lewis and some almost biblically fierce brass crowned their performance.
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Financial Times, 22 March 2016
Harding conducted with a fine softness of palette and intimacy, drawing subtle playing from the LSO
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The Guardian, 22 March 2016
The whole cast – 11 soloists are needed for all the Paters, Maters and Marias – was a top-class one. Christiane Karg was a touching Gretchen, Alastair Miles a rather contained Mephistopheles, and Andrew Staples and Lucy Crowe were excellent in a variety of roles.
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Seen and Heard, 23 March 2016
A remarkable evening, all in all, and close to the revelatory in terms of Schumann’s piece.
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Wednesday 16 March 2016

Adès/Tetzlaff – Adès/Sibelius/Franck

The Times, 17 March 2016
Tetzlaff traded splashiness for a tensile wariness, the drawn-out adagio more a painful lament than a reverie, the pressure seal wrenched off in a zinging finale.
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Evening Standard, 17 March 2016
Adès' conducting may be more impressive for its creative insights than its technical precision, but in Sibelius' Violin Concerto he created spaces in which the wonderfully accomplished Christian Tetzlaff could fashion a reading both eloquent and individual.

The Independent, 17 March 2016
Christian Tetzlaff’s performance as soloist in the Sibelius was a non-stop tour de force, his sweetly compelling line in the opening developing into power-packed pyrotechnics, his sound in the Adagio passionately eloquent. His encore – a Bach Sarabande – was an unbroken thread of exquisite melody.
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The Guardian, 17 March 2016
A volatile account [of Franck's Symphony in D minor], grand in scale, high in emotional pitch, the finale almost rabble-rousing in its elation.
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Bachtrack, 17 March 2016
Adès' clear conducting of Asyla brought out the strength and dynamism and the LSO was with him every inch of the way, appearing to relish the challenging aspect of the score.
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Classical Source, 17 March 2016
With the LSO in total response to the commanding composer-conductor, his 25-minute Asyla was once again confirmed as an amazing piece, personal, enigmatic and also very real.
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Sunday 13 March 2016

Roth – LSO Futures

The Times, 17 March 2016
The sheer polish of the orchestral playing and Roth’s unerring sense of pulse (even his silences are watchful and alert) made this premiere a triumph. Ogonek merges sinister and benign toybox twinkling with succulent lines for strings, cool muted trumpet, kinetic pizzicato and slap-bass. It’s an opulent, virtuosic and multivalent sound world that is managed with great confidence and imagination.
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Classical Source, 14 March 2016
The LSO’s evening concert was a winner, two modern classics and something brand-new: stimulating programming.
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The Arts Desk, 14 March 2016
Both concerts wound up with modern answers to the problem of the symphony... Roth masterminded it all with total, understated control.
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Wednesday 9 March 2016

Adès/Mutter – Adès/Brahms

Bachtrack, 10 March 2016
[Adès] is a supremely gifted musician who knows what he wants to say and has the technical ability to say it, both as composer, conductor and accompanist. Comparisons with Britten have inevitably been made: Adès is a big-hearted composer with a broad range of interests and emotions, giving his works a unique power and surefootedness.
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The Guardian, 10 March 2016
No matter how many times she may have played [Brahms' Violin Concerto], Mutter continues to bring to it a commanding mastery of its considerable technical difficulties, and a clear and individual expressive intent that transcends the notes while never ignoring their importance or specificity. 
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Daily Telegraph, 10 March 2016
In the final piece, Tevot... the orchestra played this vision of an interstellar ark bearing human souls with spine-tingling intensity. 
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The Times, 10 March 2016
Adès writes so brilliantly for orchestra. Fascinatingly multilayered textures are marshalled into admirably cogent structures, which he clarifies even further with his idiosyncratic but effective conducting. 
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Financial Times, 10 March 2016
A compelling performance had been forged from highly contrasting elements. Like the science of alchemy, it should not have been possible.
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Classical Source, 10 March 2016
The sheer virtuosity with which Adès has marshalled these and the emotional impact that results was wholly in evidence here. The LSO once again gave its collective all.
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Sunday 28 February 2016

Noseda/Jansen– Shostakovich/Berlioz

The Guardian, 29 February 2016
Noseda is at his best with Shostakovich when the composer is at his most austere, and the work’s severe drama suited him down to the ground. The LSO, who clearly admire him, were at the peak of their powers all evening. Long may the association continue.
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The Times, 29 February 2016
Jansen turned [Shostakovich's Second Violin Concerto's] enigmatic swerves into a Shakespearean drama of her own, with the three daunting cadenzas her soul-searching soliloquies – all ferociously thrilling.
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Classical Source, 29 February 2016
Janine Jansen attacked the outer movements with a ferocity and assurance wholly in keeping with the music, the last in particular reaching an edge-of-seat pitch of intensity.
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Thursday 25 February 2016

Noseda/ Trpčeski – Smetana/Liszt/Tchaikovsky/Strauss

Classical Source, 25 February 2016
LSO principals distinguished themselves, Timothy Jones on horn, Olivier Stankiewicz oboe and, especially, Rebecca Gilliver on cello, quite lovely. With an accompaniment that avoided brashness and bombast (cymbal-clashes colourful rather than strident), Trpčeski was in his element and Liszt’s invention and ingenuity was fully revealed.
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Seen and Heard International, 26 February 2016
Trpčeski found a quality of elegance and refinement in the music that is not often brought out, and his playing combined a certain aristocracy of delivery with exceptional, crystal-clear virtuosity. 
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The Telegraph, 28 February 2016
The range of [Trpčeski's] tone, from the musing delicacy of the opening, to the earth-shaking power of the martial section, was simply breath-taking.  Some pianists play [Liszt Piano Concerto No 2] with an ironic smirk; Trpčeski approached it straightforward sincerity and staggering pianism, which made it glow anew.
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Tuesday 16 February 2016

Gardiner/Monteverdi Choir – Mendelssohn

The Guardian, 17 February 2016
It was the consistent suavity of the LSO’s playing under Gardiner’s baton that impressed most of all. The winds were outstanding in Mendelssohn’s shimmering score, but Gardiner was not afraid to let the sturdier side of Mendelssohn’s writing have its voice, and some of the rarely played accompaniments in the lower strings had an almost Wagnerian tonality.
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The Times, 17 February 2016
John Eliot Gardiner unlocked both the silken beauty of this music and its evanescence. Nothing was pushed: the suite was borne on featherlight strings and sylvan woodwinds, with the human world intruding only for the genial wedding march.
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Bachtrack, 17 February 2016
Gardiner certainly injected vim and vigour into this performance of [Mendelssohn Symphony No 1]. With violins and violas standing, and cellos on risers, the LSO was bold and impactful, the bright, aggressive sound bringing out the brilliance in Mendelssohn’s string writing.
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Classical Source, 17 February 2016
Ceri-Lynn Cissone, Frankie Wakefield and Alexander Knox, all graduates from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, led us through [A Midsummer Night's Dream]’s highlights and spoke the familiar blank verse with a beautiful authority and, as required, majesty.
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London Evening Standard, 17 February 2016
For this performance of Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream blue and green lighting turned [the Barbican Hall] into a kind of postmodern fairy world, the characters weaving their way through seated LSO players. The magic was supplied by those musicians, under John Eliot Gardiner, spinning textures of delectable delicacy, with feather-light strings and fluttery flutes. 
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Sunday 31 January 2016

Pappano/de la Salle – Rachmaninov/Respighi

Bachtrack, 1 February 2016
Total precision is required, and total precision is what Pappano, the LSO and soloist Lise de la Salle gave it.
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Classical Source, 1 February 2016
Antonio Pappano and the LSO, a time-honoured partnership, pulled off something compelling and convincing throughout the Trilogy, with perfectly judged tweets and perspectives and swaggering and refined playing, Pappano shedding blood on behalf of Respighi's noble Roman visions. It was a stupendous way to end January MMXVI.
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The Guardian, 2 February 2016
Pappano placed Roman Festivals first, giving an awesome performance that was in many ways revelatory. He made a virtue of its excess, letting rip with its violence and dwelling on its sensuality.
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The Times, 2 February 2016
As usual, the LSO made the most of every curling woodwind solo — also a glorious feature in the nocturnal part of Pines of Rome (first prize there goes to Chris Richards and his clarinet).
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Sunday 24 January 2016

Roth/Capuçon – Webern/Berg/Strauss

Classical Source, 25 January 2016
There was much power, accuracy and considerable virtuosity here, especially in the solo-violin portrait of Strauss’s wife in which Roman Simovic was mesmerisingly brilliant.
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Seen and Heard, 26 January 2016
Throughout, the orchestra could sound vividly pictorial, but never just that; under Roth’s leadership, it maintained an intense, ever-changing, and yet coherent sense of musical drama.
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The Times, 27 January 2016
With London’s most balletic orchestra and a soloist as sophisticated as violinist Renaud Capuçon working with him [François-Xavier Roth], the silences were as expressive as the music in the second concert of his After Romanticism series with the London Symphony Orchestra.
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MusicOMH, 30 January 2016
The work’s youthful vigour was strongly realised by the London Symphony Orchestra in this performance.
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Thursday 21 January 2016

Roth/Tilling – Wagner/Berg/Mahler

Classical Source, 21 January 2016
Roth has a gift for coaxing clarity and meaning from a score, something abundantly evident in this meticulously prepared performance of the Wagner, in which the instrumental blend was, as Debussy described it, 'lit from behind'.
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The Guardian, 22 January 2016
Tilling’s account of the songs was beautifully detailed... she threaded her way through the shifting harmonic sands of the more forward-looking numbers, such as the setting of Rilke’s Traumgekrönt, with great poise as Roth carefully sifted orchestral textures and colours around her.
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Sunday 17 January 2016

Heras-Casado/Weilerstein – Tchaikovsky/Elgar/Dvořák 

Classical Source, 17 January 2016
Some of the most effective moments came in the Finale [of the Elgar Cello Concerto] with its Schumannesque passagework. Heras-Casado is a skilled accompanist... with the LSO on fine form.
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The Guardian, 18 January 2016
Weilerstein rode the changing moods with eloquence and assurance, mesmerisingly so in some of the fastest passages, but she was always alive to dynamic contrasts and intimate inflections of phrase.
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Bachtrack, 18 January 2016
Pin sharp coordination between soloist and orchestra gave us notable moments when the orchestral figure seemed to grow out of a declining cello note, with Weilerstein’s concentration and inner calm contrasting with the explosive romanticism of the orchestra.
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Wednesday 13 January 2016

Rattle/Kavakos/Bullock – Ravel/Dutilleux/Delage

The Guardian, 14 January 2016
Rattle is in his element in Dutilleux’s pristine yet sensuous soundworld, beautifully teasing out every textural layer... It was played to perfection, with every colouristic nuance delineated with fastidious care.
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Evening Standard, 14 January 2016
To Daphnis And Chloe, Rattle and his players brought glittering sonorities, a lyrical sweep and a thrilling surge to the finish.
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The Arts Desk, 14 January 2016
This fast-moving concerto for orchestra is home territory for Rattle, where he builds rhythmic tension with a sure, showman’s hand. Together, they were tongue and groove. The closing Flamboyant gathered laugh-out-loud, gasp-for-breath momentum.
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The Times, 14 January 2016
A small group of strings and woodwind spun delicate chords around Julia Bullock’s thrilling performance: dressed in art-deco gold, the young soprano spun the text with bronzed beauty.
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Classical Source, 14 January 2016
Rattle teased out intricate textures and ravishing sonorities... a fine demonstration of the LSO/Rattle partnership.
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Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 January 2016

Rattle/Sellars – Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande

Opera Today, 13 January 2016
Christian Gerhaher and Gerald Finley both gave ardent performances, Finley’s sadism as Golaud especially chilling.
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The Arts Desk, 10 January 2016
It’s storytelling of the most instinctive kind, its text picked out in gilded detail by the musicians of the LSO. There’s a delicacy here, even to moments of extreme violence, that seems the musical echo of Sellars’s staging – a series of suggestions, implications, possibilities that rarely coalesces into anything approaching a statement.
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The Times, 10 January 2016
I had never heard Debussy’s textures so beautifully blended, the eerie otherworldliness so subtly accentuated, or the LSO sound so mellow. As for Rattle’s ever-fluctuating pacing and rapport with the singers — that was a masterclass...this was as perfect as Pelléas gets.
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The Guardian, 10 January 2016
With the orchestra onstage behind the singers, the play of colours between voices and instruments was wonderfully subtle, and the great climaxes, as much as the ebbing away of the final scene (better judged and more intensely moving than I’ve ever known it before) had exactly the right scale.
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Bachtrack, 10 January 2016
...this was rapt, magical performance – often spellbindingly so. Rattle has lived with this opera for many years and he delved sensitively into its mille-feuille layers. Time and again he would draw the tiniest melodic fragment from its habitual bedding and let it glitter like a jewel.
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Daily Telegraph, 10 January 2016
...this remained a wonderful experience, with Rattle (always at his best in French repertory) drawing silken subtlety from the London Symphony Orchestra’s strings and kaleidoscopic colours from its wind and brass. The fourth-act climax was thrillingly judged, as was the dying fall of the fifth.
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Classical Source, 10 January 2016
Underpinning the evening was the LSO’s endlessly allusive, subtle playing, never dropping a stitch in its response to Rattle’s intuitive, passionate and long-standing relationship to this profoundly troubling work.
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Financial Times, 11 January 2016
Here was an awesome atmosphere of distant, shadowy legend, a deep well of emotions surging up from below. The LSO’s strings (second violins and violas at the front) have rarely sounded so rich.
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The Independent, 11 January 2016
Rattle drew playing of rapt, shimmering beauty and extraordinary subtlety, but tender and sensuous as his reading was, the broad, Wagner-influenced paragraphs had nobility, and passages of drama had a flesh and blood quality. Rarely has Maeterlinck’s richly symbolist text been rendered with such immediacy
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MusicOMH, 11 January 2016
Rattle delivered a focused and precise, yet notably sumptuous, account of Debussy’s enigmatic score, while every soloist produced singing of particular focus and precision.
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The Independent, 12 January 2016
...the London Symphony Orchestra were on top form, and the detail in their playing emerged with brilliant clarity.
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The Spectator, 14 January 2016
What a cast! Surely no performance has been as strong as this: at the centre is the tragic figure of Golaud, and Gerald Finley has never done anything finer than this, conveying the complexity of the character, the only one who is determinate enough to lead us into the centre of the drama.
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Wednesday 16 December 2015

Harding/Pires – Beethoven/Bruckner

The Arts Desk, 17 December 2015
Bruckner's completed Ninth Symphony: well worth the wait.
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Bachtrack, 18 December 2015
The slow movement was lovingly crafted, with Pires an expressive poet, languorous in the long-breathed phrases, and knowing just when to linger and when to move forward.
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Classical Source, 18 December 2015
With Harding and the LSO confidently ushering in the main themes from earlier movements, culminating in the chorale, this was vintage, visionary Bruckner.
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Seen and Heard International, 18 December 2015
It was a moving account of this most profound artistic statement, in which Bruckner perhaps reaches his greatest heights of expression.
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Sunday 6 December 2015

Harding/Pires – Mozart/Bruckner

Bachtrack, 7 December 2015
[Maria João Pires'] delicate little trills in the minor key Andantino had the crystalline beauty of a butterfly beating its fragile wings.
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Classical Source, 7 December 2015
The quiet section at the heart of the first movement [of Bruckner Symphony No 4]... brought an excellent flute contribution from Gareth Davies.
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Music OMH, 8 December 2015
The chorale at the centre of the [first] movement was wonderfully majestic, the massed brass evoking the sonorities of the organ music which was an important part of Bruckner’s musical life.
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The Times, 9 December 2015
...the LSO’s playing had such lustre and fervour that even Bruckner’s weak bits became adorable. What an enriching performance.
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Thursday 19 November 2015

Honeck/Grimaud – Janáček/Ravel/Dvořák

Classical Source, 19 November 2015
[Grimaud] was fully technically in command of a work which frequently stretches pianists... the wonderfully insouciant build up after the infamous bassoon solo in the Finale was absolutely thrilling as the movement picked up an unstoppable momentum.
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Thursday 12 November 2015

Znaider/Schwanewilms – Beethoven/Strauss

Classical Source, 12 November 2015
Glistening details abounded in Death and Transfiguration... This was a moving account, the musicians giving a vision to the music that filled the Hall with glory.
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Friday 6 November 2015

Bernstein/Marsalis/Stravinsky – James Gaffigan/Nicola Benedetti/Ben Hill/LSC

Financial Times, 9 November 2015
More fun was had among the ranks of the London Symphony Orchestra and under American conductor James Gaffigan the players let rip.
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The Guardian, 8 November 2015
Benedetti initially had to tell Marsalis her part wasn’t difficult enough; it’s certainly difficult now, and her sparky performance sold the work to us with all she could muster.
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The Independent, 7 November 2015
what form the LSO was on, with its sax players equal to all Marsalis’s challenges, plus outstanding bassoon solos by Rachel Gough and Catherine Edwards presiding at the piano.
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Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2015
It’s often said that the London Symphony Orchestra is our most American-sounding orchestra. And boy, didn’t it seem so last Friday.
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The Arts Desk, 7 November 2015
The real stars here, and arguably throughout the evening, were the trumpets and trombones, putting out clean, sharp attacks, with ideal balance within the section and a real feeling for each of the jazz styles. Few orchestras in the world field a brass section that can cook like this.
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Classical Source, 7 November 2015
Hugely involving, richly orchestrated and with a wow of a solo part, this trumped Scheherazade.2 for sheer enjoyment and marked a most impressive return to the orchestral platform for Marsalis.
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Thursday 29 October 2015

Ravel/John Adams – John Adams/Leila Josefowicz

Bachtrack, 30 October 2015
Josefowicz gave an heroic, fearless performance, often standing tall, assuming a proud stance, turning to the orchestra to argue her case...Scheherazade.2 is a work that absolutely deserves to join the standard repertory.
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Music OMH, 1 November 2015
[Scheherazade.2] is certainly a moving work, and the violinist, Leila Josefowicz (for whom the work was written) addressed the virtuoso requirements of the part with outstanding brilliance.
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Classical Source, 1 November 2015
A languorously sensual Pavane pour une infante défunte and a beautifully realised complete Mother Goose... were both guided and delicately moulded by Adams’s hands.
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The Independent, 1 November 2015
The second movement was a charming and Messiaen-influenced exercise with a soaring solo for the violin, while the third (entitled ‘Scheherazade and the men with beards’) saw the soloist triumphing with the aid of a tintinnabulation of gongs and chimes.
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The Guardian, 1 November 2015
Josefowicz’s exceptional performance got the showcase it deserved.
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The Financial Times, 1 November 2015
The love scene was wonderfully tender. The hypnotic closing scene of “Sanctuary” was ineffably radiant, while also tinged with pain... one wished those final pages would never end.
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Sunday 25 October 2015 – Lincoln Center, NYC

Bartók/Stravinsky – Gergiev/Bronfman

New York Times, 27 October 2015
Mr. Gergiev and the London Symphony have given solid performances in New York and did so again in programs of Bartok and Stravinsky on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon in David Geffen Hall.
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Classical Source, 26 October 2015
Yefim Bronfman has great affinity for Bartók’s Piano Concertos, most apparent here in No.2’s Finale.
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Friday 23 October 2015 – Lincoln Center, NYC

Bartók/Stravinsky – Gergiev/Bronfman

Classical Source, 24 October 2015
Solos were exquisitely played, especially by leader Roman Simovic, Timothy Jones on horn, bassoonist Rachel Gough, and (now) Andrew Marriner on clarinet. Gergiev took the LSO to the limits of endurance, the musicians retaining impressive vitality to imbue the final grandiose peroration with boldly assertive power.
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Sunday 18 October 2015

Bartók/Stravinsky – Valery Gergiev

Bachtrack, 22 October 2015
...this miraculous trilogy was enough to make us hope – fervently – that Gergiev won’t evanesce, but will be back soon to delight us – and surprise us with the speakling and new: perhaps even in a brand-new venue.
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The Times, 20 October 2015
Hard glitter and jet propulsion were generated, but they never stamped out the beauties of Gareth Davies’s flute, the harps’ delicate lace, or the other dancing chamber sounds embedded within. Finely balanced music-making, this, and from Gergiev especially, something to treasure.
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The Guardian, 19 October 2015
The LSO were at their considerable best here, and the playing, all scrupulously honed brass and woodwind solos, was extraordinary in its pristine beauty.
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Classical Source, 19 October 2015
Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra opened with Shostakovich-like intensity, which Gergiev spectacularly undermined in the later ‘Intermezzo’ that blows raspberries at the Russian’s ‘Leningrad’ Symphony, and he and the LSO never let up on its dramatic potential.
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Sunday 11 October 2015

Bartók/Stravinsky – Gergiev/Bronfman

The Arts Desk, 12 October 2015
I was struck by brilliant work on the E-flat clarinet by Chi-Yu Mo, who brought terrific energy to his solos... Gergiev’s conducting was assertive and the result exhilarating, on an evening which saw him at his thrilling best.
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The Telegraph, 12 October 2015
Gergiev shaped an impressive performance with Yefim Bronfman as a soloist of great flexibility... Together, conductor and pianist found the nocturnal delicacy of the spiritual slow movement [of the 3rd Piano Concerto] and were at one in the fleet-footed finale.
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Friday 9 October 2015

Bartók/Stravinsky – Gergiev/Bronfman

Bachtrack, 13 October 2015
Gergiev’s conducting was alert, and the brief moment of respite in the centre, a typical Bartókian ‘night music’ Adagio was nicely controlled. The barnstorming finale was exuberant.
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Classical Source, 9 October 2015
This latest was exceptional... From the off there was a focus and vivid narrative, which sustained the whole 45 minutes, a glowing and dynamic account.
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Wednesday 23 September 2015

Purcell/Beethoven/Brahms – Haitink/Cooper

Classical Source, 24 September 2015
Haitink and the LSO brought all their wonderful assurance in a majestic reading of [Brahms' First Symphony]... The LSO brass sustained the phrases of [Purcell's] opening ‘March’ from one to the other without stopping for breath, and rose to a chilling climax, and the reprise at the conclusion of the work was more searing still.
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The Times, 25 September 2015
Nothing could ruffle this music's Mozartian spirit or smudge the chiselled contrasts between muscular shout and pianissimo sigh... The kind of concert that thrills the ears and nourishes the soul.
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Seen and Heard International, 25 September 2015
[Imogen Cooper's] playing in the first movement had an attractive crispness of execution, with elegant phrasing and piquant rhythms: every phrase came to life vividly.
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Bachtrack, 25 September 2015
The LSO players luxuriated in Brahms’ rich string writing, and Haitink drew a wonderful balance between the sections. Leader Roman Simovic’s solo was particularly captivating.
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Sunday 20 September 2015

Beethoven/Mahler – Haitink/Perahia/Richter

The Arts Desk, 21 September 2015
Last night's perfectly-judged, superbly communicated performance of Mahler's Fourth Symphony served as a reminder that the passion, experience and astonishing musicality of 86-year-old conductor Bernard Haitink are things to be cherished and never taken for granted.
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Bachtrack, 21 September 2015
[Haitink] presided over a performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra which was Just So' – everything in its place, every element in perfect proportion to each other.
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The Financial Times, 21 September 2015
The performances were a model of the restraint and wisdom that has always marked Haitink’s musicianship.
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Seen and Heard International, 22 September 2015
The young German soprano Anna Lucia Richter was the undoubted success of this performance and matched Mahler’s requirements perfectly as well as having the volume to dominate the orchestra.
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The Independent, 22 September 2015
Every Beethoven performance by Murray Perahia is an event... [He] reasserted dominance by the sheer beauty and authority of his playing, with the orchestra encasing the piano as though it were a rare jewel.
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The Times, 22 September 2015
Perahia still makes a sound unlike any other player: crisp, sparkling, brilliantly sprung, beautiful.
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Tuesday 15 September 2015

Season opener: Mozart/Bruckner – Haitink/Perahia

The Guardian, 16 September 2015
It seems pointless to pick out highlights from a performance of such natural authority, which over its vast span never once turned aside from its path of intricate organic development and sense of direction.
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The Telegraph, 16 September 2015
[Haitink's] grasp of [the Seventh Symphony's] spans was sure and the start sounded wonderfully spacious... he was at his most animated in the finale, where the orchestra scaled its granite-like edifices thrillingly.
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Classical Source, 16 September 2015
The succinct finale, the lightest of the four movements, even displaying shafts of wit, again benefitted from Haitink’s ability to hang things together, and when he wanted something sonorous and momentous, he got it.
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Phil Cobb and Gerry Ruddock taking a bow