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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> Current season reviews
> 2014/15 season reviews

 

Reviews 2014/15 season

Sunday 30 August 2015

Edinburgh International Festival 2015: Bartok/Stravinsky - Gergiev/Bronfman

50Connect, 4 September 2015
Gergiev and the orchestra brilliantly conveyed the unstoppable rhythms and searing orchestral colours of Stravinsky's masterpiece. Indeed this dazzling composition which starts with a bassoon solo still challenges aspiring and experienced bassoonists today. A truly memorable evening!

The Guardian, 1 September 2015
It’s an astoundingly forthright band, with a hefty, glossy sound and bulletproof ensemble, and though Stravinsky’s writing should never sound easy, here the razor-sharp precision was riveting.

Classical Source, 1 September 2015
Gergiev drew theatrical play from the LSO to initiate an awesome spectacle of colours superbly articulated by every musician... The final ‘Sacrificial Dance’ brought The Rite, and the Edinburgh Festival, to a thundering and dramatic close: a timely reminder for those of us ‘north of the border’ as to what the LSO and Valery Gergiev are capable of.

The Scotsman, 1 September 2015
The LSO was firing on all cylinders, the electricity flowed... This was the LSO in vintage form, rampant and visceral.

The Herald, 30 August 2015
The precision of the huge strings ensemble when it came in after the winds intro was stunning, and although the overlapping counter rhythms and pendulum pulses that define the piece were perfectly executed, its percussive qualities never dominated a performance were every note had its full melodic value.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

BBC Proms 2015: Prokofiev Piano Concertos/Valery Gergiev/Daniil Trifonov/Sergei Babayan/Alexei Volodin

Bachtrack, 29 July 2015
Armed with his trusty toothpick, Gergiev guided his tireless LSO through the evening, neither conductor nor orchestra flagging in energy.

The Arts Desk, 29 July 2015
Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra were on top form throughout their long evening. All the demanding woodwind and brass solos were delivered with panache, and the strings offered ideal support for each of the soloists.

Daily Telegraph, 29 July 2015
Never have I seen so many fast and furious hand-crossings, so many dizzying flights from top to bottom of the keyboard, all performed flawlessly by the three virtuoso pianists Daniil Trifonov, Sergei Babayan and Alexei Volodin.

The Guardian, 29 July 2015
There was some tremendous playing. Trifonov brought staggering dexterity to the First and an elegance to the Third that was utterly beguiling.

Evening Standard, 29 July 2015
The audience loved every minute of the whole concert. Not so mad after all, then.

Classical Source, 29 July 2015
This evening was a resounding success. The only other time you hear Piano Concertos back to back is in competition finals. Thankfully we didn’t have to choose between the soloists and there was only one winner – Prokofiev.

MusicOMH, 29 July 2015
[Gergiev's] ability to get the very best out of the LSO players made this marathon concert a fitting end to his tenure as principal conductor.

Financial Times, 29 July 2015
[Alexei Volodin] made [the Fourth Piano Concerto] sound effortless, as did the London Symphony Orchestra, who, throughout this endurance test of a programme, kept all signs of fatigue well under wraps.

The Times, 30 July 2015
... it was down to the London Symphony Orchestra to identify more specific qualities in works never intended to be heard together; gauzy beauty in the psychedelic whirl of the first, cartoonish humour in the second. eerie poise and juicy pops of colour in the third, crisp brilliance in the fifth.

The Independent, 30 July 2015
Daniil Trifonov played the first concerto with the airy brilliance we now expect from him, and Gergiev, on the podium, let his interpretation of this youthful, ardent, nose-thumbing work flower as it needed to.

New Statesman, 29 July 2015
...what could have been either a dry, academic survey of a composer’s output or a flashy pianists’ pissing contest ended up as a dramatic and even emotional evening of outstanding music...Full credit must go to Gergiev, for somehow giving us fireworks and the opportunity to appreciate a well-known composer to a greater depth.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Dove The Monster in the Maze/Walton Symphony No 1 - Sir Simon Rattle

The Times, 7 July 2015
Walton's snarling First Symphony... Rattle went for a high-voltage, glossy approach: the piece burst out of the blocks and stayed at a supernova level throughout. Individual contributions from trumpeter Philip Cobb, bassoonist Daniel Jemison and flautist Adam Walker were dazzling.

The Financial Times, 7 July 2015
The UK premiere of Jonathan Dove's new children's opera could hardly have whipped up a bigger frenzy... When sung with the do-or-die conviction or the LSO Discovery Choirs and LSO Community Choir, the overall product Rattle provoked passionate performances from his orchestra and excellent soloists.

The Guardian, 6 July 2015
If Rattle’s concert last week reinforced expectations of high artistic standards when he joins the LSO, this one will have encouraged those who hope that broadening participation will be similarly high on his agenda.

The Telegraph, 6 July 2015
Rattle made sure the London Symphony Orchestra (augmented by players from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama) never drowned the singers, and paced things unerringly... Championing music education fires him up as much as performance these days, and here he was, fronting a brand-new community opera that brought his two passions together.

The Independent, 6 July 2015
This was semi-staged – with lighting which made the Barbican's wooden screens look like burnished brass – but the drama lay in the music, thanks in large part to Joshua Bloom's wonderful Daedalus, and to the pure-toned ardour of the young choristers.

Classical Source, 5 July 2015
Andrew Rees was an inspired piece of casting as Theseus, his cartoon-like swagger matched by a robust, Siegfried-like heldentenor that galvanised the cringing Athenians. Yvonne Howard sang his mother with elemental warmth and a nicely judged caricature of matriarchal authority; and Daedalus, both the architect of the Labyrinth and its prisoner, was strongly performed by Joshua Bloom. Malcolm Storry set the myth rolling with his vivid portrayal of Minos, clearly a man enslaved by the monster within.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Brahms/Dvorák - Sir Simon Rattle/Krystian Zimerman

The Financial Times, 6 July 2015
Rattle reached out to explore extremes of pace, texture and colour. The result felt truly massive. Many pianists would pale against this backdrop, but Zimerman held his own. His playing had great power, but also an aristocratic poise the the balancing of chords, a clarity in inner parts.

Seen and Heard International, 5 July 2015
The rapport between Rattle and the LSO bodes extraordinarily well for the future. The long orchestral exposition to the first movement was powerful and vast (despite the fairly rapid tempo). The dynamic range was huge, too, from chthonic fortissimi to the quietest of pianissimi. A hard act for most pianists to follow, certainly, and Zimerman’s response was almost superhuman. The rapport between pianist and conductor seemed positively telepathic.

The Guardian, 3 July 2015
The greatest interpreters make you believe you are encountering even the most familiar work for the first time, and Zimerman offered exactly that kind of journey of discovery through the vast span of the Brahms concerto. But this was not just a reading of the score in which every detail was deeply considered and immaculately presented. That technical perfection was only the starting point for a performance of astonishing energy and sometime ferocious intensity.

The Telegraph, 3 July 2015
Everything about the performance of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, which took up the evening’s first half, was freshly arresting, yet always in a way that served the composer.

The Arts Desk, 3 July 2015
The two are of one mind about a sound-image for the concerto if inevitably using their different instruments in their own ways. Dvořák must have had in mind an orchestra of soloists: playing with honeymoon-delight for their music director-to-be, the LSO fitted the bill.

Evening Standard, 3 July 2015
Rattle is never afraid to go for the grand gesture and the LSO players responded with playing that was exquisitely weighted and at times demonic... Zimerman's playing had plenty of muscle but there was also a liquid lightness, and the musical space he creates for himself has an elasticity that kept Rattle on his toes.

Bachtrack, 3 July 2015
From the turbulent outset, Rattle and the LSO seemed to be on fire, producing an extraordinary clarity and depth of sound. What struck me about Zimerman’s performance was his rhythmic expressivity, in which he unerringly found the right level of drama, passion and delicacy in this movement, without indulging in interpretive byways and disturbing the structural integrity.

Classical Source, 2 July 2015
Throughout this performance, the integration of soloist and orchestra ensured the music’s formal logic was never outweighed by its expressive rhetoric.

Sunday 28 June 2015

Sibelius/Berlioz - Pablo Heras-Casado/Joshua Bell

The Times, 30 June 2015
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique is catnip to the LSO. Heras-Casado paced this hallucinogenic journey intelligently... I could have listened to the bucolic woodwind solos for days.

Classical Source, 30 June 2015
Bell introduced the initial theme with perfect poise and matched the conductor's intensity with a dramatic and virile approach. Soloist and conductor were in constant eye-contact, the drama unfolding between them. Heras-Casado coaxing extraordinary colours from brass and woodwinds, and the LSO’s string-playing was exemplary and wonderfully nuanced... This performance revealed the depths of this favourite but ever-surprising Violin Concerto.

Bachtrack, 29 June 2015
Bell revelled in the sense of fantasy and poetry of Sibelius’ violin writing in the first movement Allegro moderato as one theme melted into the next. There was great technical assurance in the fierce double-stopping and long trills of the development section.

Sunday 21 June 2015

Beethoven - Bernard Haitink/Erin Wall/Karen Cargill/Steve Davislim/Hanno Müller-Brachmann/LSC

The Guardian, 23 June 2015
In the overture and symphony we were very much aware of a master at work. Both interpretations were measured and thoughtful, but with no loss of tension and drama. Haitink conducted with the humane warmth and depth of feeling that characterises his Beethoven as a whole. We were left wondering why we don’t hear the piece more often.

Bachtrack, 23 June 2015
It was the LSO winds who really shone. Rachel Gough’s bassoon section showed marvellous sensitivity in their pianissimo mutterings, and Gareth Davies’ tone was irreproachable above the wind section’s lustrous glow, with perfect intonation and blend. Lustre was certainly the word for the orchestral sound.

Seen and Heard International, 22 June 2015
Beethoven’s music becomes animated and joyful, and here the fine LSO Chorus had ample opportunity to show off its disciplined energy. [Haitink's] direction was as vigorous as it has ever been: his baton technique has always been a model of clarity and precision ... the music was perfectly moulded.

Classical Source, 21 June 2015
Attention to dynamics was scrupulous, whether subito or graded, and balances impeccable... here was the adaptable LSO doing its impression of a cultured European ensemble, responding faithfully to each of Haitink’s economic gestures. In the ‘Choral’ Symphony, Haitink belied that he is now 86, for his focus on the music was unstinting and palpable.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Mozart/Mahler - Bernard Haitink/Alina Ibragimova

The Guardian, 16 June 2015
When Bernard Haitink gave his downbeat to the London Symphony Orchestra, it was as though he had cast an instant spell. Ibragimova brought characterful attentiveness to every bar of the opening allegro ... and gave a very personal quietness and depth to the brief, introspective cadenza.

Seen and Heard International, 16 June 2015
Haitink’s Mahler is never self-indulgent and just when ennui was setting in we were off once again on a Mahlerian ride that was akin to being on a rollercoaster in Vienna’s Prater and there were plenty of thrills, spills, excitement and, most importantly, intense drama throughout the one hour span of music.

The Independent, 15 June 2015
[Ibragimova's] opening flourish in the Allegro, and the lyrical outpouring which followed it, was marked by a forceful expressivity which carried the music along as Mozart wanted – flowing ‘like oil’ – and in the Adagio, soloist and orchestra achieved a serene and ecstatic symbiosis.

Classical Source, 14 June 2015
This Mahler 1 was revelatory. I heard timbres and sonorities that were fresh and new, particularly impressive in the quiet passages, while Haitink’s unfussy and clear-sighted direction built the climaxes inexorably.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Previn/Rachmaninov - André Previn/Anne-Sophie Mutter

Seen and Heard International, 15 June 2015
With the composer conducting and the dedicatee as soloist no performance of this work could have been more authoritative. Mutter’s playing was superlative technically and the sounds she drew [from her violin] were gloriously seductive.

The Times, 12 June 2015
Rarely have I witnessed such a striking mismatch between sight and sound. At 86 Andre Previn is physically challenged ... yet when he raises his arms - boy, the years fall away and the LSO surges through Rachmaninov as if galvanised by a Greek god.

Music OMH, 10 June 2015
Mutter’s exceptional technique and tonal refinement were deployed to the full in this performance, matched by dedicated playing of the orchestra under the composer ... surging Russian passion of Rachmaninov’s inspiration brought to life by an orchestra performing at the top of its game under an admired conductor. It was thrilling to hear.

Classical Source, 10 June 2015
The solo part unerringly plays to Mutter’s strengths – not least in allowing her to pursue (yet never indulge) her liking for myriad tonal shadings and timbral inflections to wholly musical, as opposed to merely technical, ends. The LSO was quietly committed in support here and also in an encore.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Bartók/Korngold/Rachmaninov - Marin Alsop/James Ehnes

Bachtrack, 10 June 2015
The performance was remarkably taut and carefully sculpted by guest conductor Marin Alsop ... The rapport between Alsop and the orchestra was evident throughout and this led to some incredible orchestra playing. All in all, a thrilling case was made for this dynamic period in musical history.

The Times, 10 June 2015
Sunday's incandescent performance of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances ... In almost every way this was a performance made in heaven. Alsop and the orchestra nailed the work's unique atmosphere of nostalgia and final reckoning with life and death ... nothing held back the glittering orchestra.

Seen and Heard International, 8 June 2015
A breathtakingly assured performance of Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto... Ehnes’ spiccato quavers danced with grace and light above the trilling cellos and flute, and the soloist’s bravura passagework was effortlessly mastered – and matched, too, by the individual members of the LSO.

Classical Source, 7 June 2015
[In Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances] the LSO responded with deep commitment to the lavish writing. A poignant alto-saxophone solo (Simon Haram) was one of many illuminating passages in the opening movement, while the brass produced appropriate snarls within the second one and leader Roman Simovic added his glassy tone to this macabre waltz. Finally, horns and trumpets blazed thrillingly for their ‘Dies Irae’ in the finale bringing a highly polished account to a close.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Ruston/Mendelssohn/Mahler - Daniel Harding/Janine Jansen

The Times, 4 June 2015
I've never heard the song sound so golden, so delicate, almost ethereal. Her unaffected playing, carefully balanced against the orchestra, created its own beauties, freshening a work easily taken for granted ... we knew this was something special.

The Arts Desk, 3 June 2015
The music ebbed and flowed under her bow... everywhere there were surprises, with new ideas and themes jumping out of the texture and changing the music’s course. Any familiarity with the Concerto on the listener’s part became incidental – Jansen was forging it anew from one note to the next. A mesmerising performance.

Classical Source, 3 June 2015
The ten-minute I nearly went, there opens in brazen and gaudy style, the rhythms gawky, the pace wild, the music full of exciting incident ... The music has plenty of everything, and also the capability to beguile and be enigmatic, and is handled in a highly individual and virtuoso way. In short, in this incisive and pulsating account, I nearly went, there made a terrific impression.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Beethoven/Brahms - Daniel Harding/Christian Tetzlaff

Sunday Times, 31 May 2015
This rendering with the soloist Christian Tetzlaff, breathtakingly brilliant, went from glory to glory.

Seen and Heard, 26 May 2015
So impulsive and inventive was this performance that each moment was utterly transfixing. Tetzlaff was mercurial and teasing, sometimes whispering, then attacking with surprising force, playing with the rhythm and our expectations ... The imaginative richness of Tetzlaff’s performance was spine-tingling – and in its provocative inventiveness, truly Beethovenian.

The Guardian, 26 May 2015
Technically, Tetzlaff is flawless, and the sound he makes with his modern Greiner violin – he doesn’t play a Strad – is effortlessly beautiful. But it’s the way the shape and meaning of every phrase is joyously integrated into a seamless whole that is so utterly beguiling. Harding, meanwhile, conducted like one possessed. Unforgettable: the greatest performance of the work I’ve ever heard.

The Times, 26 May 2015
Sunday night’s performance of Brahms’s German Requiem, conducted by the LSO’s principal guest Daniel Harding, showed off a refinement, clarity and dramatic purpose from the LSC that was consistently thrilling. The chorus’s interplay with Matthias Goerne’s stricken words of contemplation — Herr, lehre doch mich — was spine-chilling.

Bachtrack, 26 May 2015
LSO’s high-voltage sparring with Christian Tetzlaff in a dazzling performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto was tremendously exciting. Full honours have to go to the German fiddler, however, whose very special knack is to play some of the most well-known music in the canon as if he has just made it up on the spot.

The Arts Desk, 25 May 2015
We're note short of star power in London's concert scene, but even by our spoilt metropolitan standards this is a pretty unarguable line-up. With excellence a given, then, it takes quite a lot to startle a crowd into delight – especially on a Sunday night. But that’s what Christian Tetzlaff did with the unassuming freshness and brilliance of his Beethoven... a generous and thrilling bit of music-making not just from Tetzlaff but also the LSO, galvanised into Rattle-level intensity and eagerness by Harding and their soloist.

Classical Source, 24 May 2015
There are those life-affirming renditions that create such a stir as to lodge them into the consciousness, for years to come. Such was this encounter, with Christian Tetzlaff whose account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto set a new gold standard. His playing was utterly compelling, lovingly spontaneous, and embraced the widest possible range of expression (and dynamics) teasing out by turns lyrical tenderness and fiery passion. At times he seemed to draw every ounce of emotion from just one bow stroke.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Balakirev arr Lyapunov/Tchaikovsky/Shostakovich - Valery Gergiev/Nikolaj Znaider

The Times, 15 May 2015
This was a virtuoso performance. The fade out of the final chord, and draining and extinguishing of sound and colour, was extraordinary. This is what makes Gergiev special.

Bachtrack, 13 May 2015
Nikolaj Znaider took control, brusquely grabbing the concerto by the scruff of the neck to give an immensely personal reading. Burnished lower notes gave way to nut-brown sweetness and lyrical intensity at the top. The first movement cadenza was a remarkable piece of storytelling... Even in the Barbican’s wide expanse, the Canzonetta achieved a chamber music intimacy, particularly in the exchange between violin and clarinet, before an exhilarating Cossack finale, fast and frenzied. A Bach Sarabande brought balm to the ears as an encore.

Classical Source, 12 May 2015
Gergiev’s epic approach was uncompromising yet spellbinding, building remorselessly to an all-consuming climax...and then fading to nothing (or somewhere further than our consciousness) and silence, a stillness held even beyond Gergiev lowering his arms, and it could have gone on for longer...I left the Barbican Hall emotionally shredded and discombobulated – taken to somewhere unknown, if not a welcoming place, but with solace offered – and also wondering if this isn’t Gergiev and the LSO’s finest achievement to date.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Brahms/Tchaikovsky - Semyon Bychkov/Isabelle Faust

Seen and Heard International, 10 May 2015
Isabelle Faust played with staggering insight and clarity. In fact she reminded me of some of the older ‘master’ violinists. But this is not to suggest that Faust does not have her own inimitable tone-world, with very well chosen vibrato – never in the ‘troppo’ sense – and a great diversity of tonal registers...As has often been noted Brahms’ writing for the violin is fiendishly complex and difficult.. But Faust managed all this in a way which never brought attention to itself. Altogether this was a most compelling and satisfying concerto experience.

Bachtrack, 8 May 2015
Semyon Bychkov and the London Symphony Orchestra delivered a knockout punch for the Russian in a bruising performance of the Fifth Symphony. Bychkov introduced an element of restraint in the Andante cantabile...he allowed the long phrases time to unfurl naturally – Andrew Marriner (clarinet) and Rachel Gough (bassoon) epsecially eloquent, until brass angrily interrupted with the ‘fate’ motif reminder. The passage featuring solo oboe over pizzicato strings was heartstopping.

Classical Source, 7 May 2015
Her integrated overview of this most symphonic of violin concertos yielded superbly animated brilliance... clinched by her preference for the rarely-played Busoni cadenza... a far remove from a boisterous Hungarian stomp-fest but no less valid, especially with Bychkov raising her game in terms of spontaneity. Without grandstanding heroics, Faust released layer after layer of Brahms at his most subtle and in the process made you hear this work afresh.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Glinka/Szymanowski/Mussorgsky arr Ravel – Krzysztof Urbanski/Nicola Benedetti

Bachtrack, 4 May 2015
[Pictures at an Exhibition]... a work that's been a favourite since childhood and one of which I know every note, which always gives the worry that the performance may not live up to expectations. What happened was the exact opposite: Urbanski and the LSO were outstanding, making me fall in love with the work all over again. This was a concert which included both familiar and less played works, and in both, it showed the LSO absolutely on the top of their game. At 33, Urbanski is amongst the youngest cohort of top conductors and the prospect of seeing a lot more of him is exciting.

Classical Source, 3 May 2015
With close attention paid to the high notes, it was to Benedetti’s great credit that she managed to communicate the range of violin colour whilst the LSO superbly handled the “orchestral depth” (referring to her own description of the piece)... the cadenza has a vigorous, determined character and was adeptly played by Benedetti, who used her fine sense of timing to bring its dramatic nuances to the fore.

Thursday 30 April 2015

Messiaen/Bartok/Tchaikovsky – Tugan Sokhiev/Baiba Skride

Seen and Heard International, 2 May 2015
He put down his baton, stopped time-beating as such, knowing that the LSO could provide clarity of execution without his help, and began to shape the music with all manner of unusual gestures... It was an impressive demonstration of communication and control, for the playing became much warmer and richer in personality... every gesture seemed to have real meaning for the players. The orchestra knew what he wanted and produced its best for him in some thrillingly virtuosic playing. The audience’s response was predictably enthusiastic, and to judge from the positive reactions of orchestral members they too had enjoyed the conductor’s creative leadership.

Bachtrack, 2 May 2015
Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto no. 2 is incredibly demanding, but Skride handled all its challenges with verve and skill. The warmth of her playing in the lower registers was especially profound, which allowed her to make a powerful musical entrance in the opening movement. She was mesmerizing, with beautiful vibrato and somehow evincing both clean and coarse textures. From the start I was so enraptured by her performance that the orchestra faded into the background.

The Guardian, 1 May 2015
Baiba Skride, replacing the indisposed Midori, was the soloist in Bartók's Violin Concerto No 2. A passionate, heart-on-sleeve player, she attacked the opening with such richness of tone that her Stradivarius sounded more like a viola than a violin. The subsequent swerves between lyricism and aggression were superbly negotiated. Sokhiev is good in Bartók, too, conducting with plenty of edge and bite, and with an innate understanding of the dark beauty of his orchestration; the evening's high point – very exciting.

Classical Source, 30 April 2015
Baiba Skride was simply sensational in the Bartók, eliciting a myriad of tone colours from her Stradivarius. A big player with an exceptionally full tone in the violin’s lower reaches, Skride commands the raw power to match the LSO in full cry. Music of this volatility demands the closest integration between soloist and orchestra, with Sokhiev at the helm it certainly got it.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Boulez/Stravinsky – Peter Eötvös

Boulezian, 28 Apr 2015
The LSO players, one felt, could almost, not quite, have managed the performance for themselves; Eötvös wisely restricted his contributions to when they were necessary. There was no more showmanship to his conducting than to Boulez; and yet, in both cases, true ‘individuality’ of conception and voice resounded all the more strongly. My immediate reaction was to wish to hear the work performed again.

The Times, 27 Apr 2015
The magnificently sombre Rituel: In Memoriam Bruno Maderna was played superbly under Peter Eötvös' direction.

Financial Times, 27 Apr 2015
The centrepiece was a Boulez regular: Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. This was a sharply etched, clean performance in Boulez's fastidiously accurate mould. Salient features - the piercing E flat clarinet, ringing trumpets, attacking rhythms - gave Eötvös' Rite an exciting edge.

Music OMH, 25 Apr 2015
Rituel: in memoriam Bruno Maderna is an entirely different sort of work... The challenge for both players and conductor was to maintain cohesion within and between the ensembles, and to push forward a sense of momentum in what is a strangely anticlimactic work. In this they succeeded – assured collaborative playing by the LSO soloists and commanding but not over-controlled direction from Peter Eötvös.

Classical Source, 24 Apr 2015
A truly memorable performance and also another successful showing for the LSO/Eötvös partnership.

The Arts Desk, 24 Apr 2015
Encouraged by Eötvös, they spun a delicate web of call and response no less effective in its way than the sumptuous, showpiece treatment that the Vienna Philharmonic used to give it with the composer in charge.

Bachtrack, 24 Apr 2015
The Rite of Spring... This was a highly charged performance, angular, with stark contrasts and with each episode pushed to the extremes. Every section of the London Symphony Orchestra was on top form here. Eötvös, clearly aware that the quality of this orchestra gave him greater latitude, drove the tempos, and pushed the dynamics. The results were raw and primal. Utterly compelling.

Sunday 12 April 2015

Pärt/Britten/Shostakovich – Osmo Vänskä/Gil Shaham

The Times, 15 April 2015
Shaham's Bach encore, the gavotte from the E Major Partita, dispatched with characterful precision and a delicious, dancing thrust. We need more playing like that.

The Guardian, 14 April 2015
This was a performance of engaged eloquence and powerful expressivity that explored the darkness within the score and its hints of both insecurity and aggression. Shaham was technically impeccable, also drawing on a range of colour to encompass the music's needs while being vividly supported by Vänskä and the LSO players.

Classical Source, 12 April 2015
In many ways the combination of Gil Shaham, Osmo Vänskä and the LSO was of dream-team status... Shaham’s sheer delight in the music and in the act of music-making had a heart-on-sleeve sincerity to which resistance was futile.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Shostakovich/Liszt – Gianandrea Noseda/Leonidas Kavakos

The Financial Times, 11 April 2015
At all points he [Kavakos] put the music before showmanship, or any temptation to over-adorn the lines. The bareness of the Nocturne's conclusion raised goose bumps. Even when the piece makes insane technical demands... there is no hint of self-congratulatory flashiness. Only a sense of relentless momentum, matter-of-fact and mechanical, and all the more chilling for it.

The Times, 10 April 2015
We listened in awe... Magic happens each time he [Noseda] appears with the LSO.

The Guardian, 9 April 2015
He [Kavakos] plays it, however, like one born to it, with every technical challenge fearlessly met and the emotional trajectory unwaveringly delineated. This was one of Noseda’s finest Shostakovich interpretations, too – lean and sparse, yet at times dauntingly intense.

The Independent, 9 April 2015
Kavakos and conductor Gianandrea Noseda whipped up a demonic storm. And if Kavakos’s way with the Passacaglia was masterly, what he did with his long cadenza even took the LSO leader’s breath away – and he too is no slouch as a virtuoso.

Classical Source, 8 April 2015
The fiddle series could not have got off to a better start than with this outstanding account of Shostakovich No.1 featuring Leonidas Kavakos. From the first bar we were compelled by brooding intensity, Kavakos totally focussed, albeit as the isolated figure that the music dictates if at times screaming an individual’s plight, so too the LSO and Gianandrea Noseda, inside the music to a hypnotic degree.

US Tour 18 March–1 April 2015

New York, Avery Fisher Hall, 18 March 2015

The New York Times, 19 March 2015
Much of the Sibelius heard at the moment is steely, frosty and concerned with structure more than overt emotionality. But the London Symphony learned its Sibelius from Colin Davis, and the warm sound he instilled in this orchestra was the perfect springboard for Mr. Thomas’s superheated, wildly impulsive view of the piece. Fiercely dramatic and often bellicose, this was less a symphony than an epic.

ConcertoNet, 19 March 2015
Yuja Wang played Gershwin the way it should be played. It was a real concerto, but it had the melodies, the vast array of rhythms, the joy, the surprises which spoke for themselves.

San Francisco, Davies Symphony Hall, 22 & 23 March 2015

Examiner, 23 March 2015
MTT led these pieces with stunning clarity, bringing the utmost transparency to the role that every one of the instrumental voices had to play and to the penetrating effects Britten could achieve through blending sonorities.

Examiner, 24 March 2015
This was a reading that served up both the dramatic and the musical qualities in equally generous measures.

San Francisco Classical Voice, 25 March 2015
This British orchestra swung gracefully under its American conductor in Gershwin’s bright, colorful music. Principal trumpet Philip Cobb’s solo in the Adagio movement was of ideally gracious smoothness.

Seen and Heard, 25 March 2015
[Yuja Wang's] sassy take on Gershwin’s Concerto in F on Monday, coupled with Tilson Thomas’ own penchant for letting jazz elements come through, made for one of the finest performances of this work that I’ve heard.

Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 24 March 2015

Orange County Register, 25 March 2015
The orchestra performed the score’s engaging jazz, ragtime and blues with just enough flexibility, while offering plenty of color. And the LSO’s principal trumpet, Philip Cobb, seemed a natural for Gershwin’s sultry solo writing, which opens the central Adagio. Thomas’ affection for Gershwin.

LA Times, 25 March 2015
[MTT] coaxed a huge, solid pizzicato sound from the string sections and dark penetrating brass in the opening movement, scary timpani rolls in the fragmented second movement, building the crescendos in the finale patiently and inexorably with satisfying payoffs at the top.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Britten/Shostakovich/Sibelius - Michael Tilson Thomas/Yuja Wang

The Guardian, 17 Mar 2015
Wang rightly dominated, capturing the concerto's brittle charm and dashing off the finale at a reckless speed that the composer would have approved of.

Classical Source, 15 Mar 2015
The elegance and economy with which the conductor sculpted phrasing and defined instrumental entries was a masterclass, and matched by playing of a special connectivity. The link from the Scherzo into the Finale was a triumph of expectation over hope, made all the more powerful for being able to hear just how precisely detail was released. For all its powerful expansiveness, this was a Sibelius 2 with a large-scale balance between tension and rock-like stability.

Bachtrack, 16 Mar 2015
The performance of Sibelius’ Second Symphony was little short of extraordinary. Tempos were deliberate, rubatos generous and elastic bar lines were stretched every which way, but the LSO followed him keenly to give an electrifying account. I usually enjoy my Sibelius served with Nordic ice, but found this emotional alternative had a powerful draw.

Evening Standard, 16 Mar 2015
Michael Tilson Thomas’s handling of Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes emphasised the storm’s violence and the scrunch of Suffolk shingle with salty textures and biting dissonances. It would have been too overwhelming as interludes for the opera, but in a concert had undeniable freshness. So too did his stark, stirring reading of Sibelius’s Second Symphony.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Colin Matthews/Gershwin/Shostakovich - Michael Tilson Thomas/Yuja Wang

The Times, 17 Mar 2015
The London Symphony Orchestra gave their all to Colin Matthews’ exuberant Hidden Variables; Tilson Thomas duetted at the piano with Yuja Wang in a jazzy Poulenc encore after her glittering performance of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.

Bachtrack, 14 Mar 2015
The quiet, unnerving music was delivered with such poignancy and emotional depth that it seemed to create a whole world of its own, transporting us from the concert hall into Shostakovich’s creation. The fourth movement brought us back down to earth with an exuberant finale that once again was exemplary of the energy and joy that Tilson Thomas and the LSO radiated throughout the evening.

The Arts Desk, 13 Mar 2015
Tilson Thomas gave us his version of this much contested symphony, and it proved compelling, not least for the superlative orchestral performance. The LSO gave their best for him, just as they have for decades.

The Daily Telegraph, 13 Mar 2015
Some conductors seize our attention through sheer charisma, others by mirroring the music’s emotional journey in their body language. Tilson Thomas does neither. He’s just a superb musician, who uses minimal, efficient gestures to reveal the logic of a piece with maximum clarity.

Classical Source, 13 Mar 2015
This was as much the LSO’s accomplishment – orchestra, yes, but also turning on a sixpence to become a dance band and theatre ensemble – with details given a light touch, even such as the percussion-led opening and trombone glissandos, and Philip Cobb’s evocative trumpet solo in the middle movement was a Miles Davis moment.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Brahms arr Schoenberg/Kodály/Leo Weiner/Traditional/Vladimir Cosma/John Williams/Csampi/Bihary - Kristjän Jarvi/Roby Lakatos/Roby Lakatos Ensemble

The Times, 10 Mar 2015
Lakatos smiles whilst playing passages that would make most violinists cry, accompanied by guitar, piano, bass, second violin and cimbalom, all bite and snap and zing and bottomless pools of coppery, shivery chords. In the Kodály the LSO brass dazzled, Huw Morgan’s trumpet sounding heaven-sent. An encore of Monti’s Czárdás had Roman Simovic, the LSO’s concert-master, duel with Lakatos and the hall explode with applause.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Debussy/Fauré/Duruflé - David Hill/Nicole Cabell/Kelley O'Connor/Duncan Rock/LSC

The Observer, 8 March 2015
The Duruflé was revelatory... Each line was clear and incisive, the LSO chorus tenors in particularly impressive form in the great burst of colour that closes the Kyrie - and Hill's handling of the miraculous unfurling of the In Paradisum was a moment of pure ecstasy.

The Times, 5 March 2015
The mezzo Kelley O'Connor offered soulful prayers in the Pie Jesu. The choir was melliflous and no smudges disturbed the last luminous glow as sopranos, harp, horn and hushed strings tiptoed us toward eternal rest. Curled up in my seat, I was content.

The Guardian, 3 March 2015
The majestic choral singing was first rate and wonderfully majestic. O’Connor struck form in the Pie Jesu. Duncan Rock was the noble, hieratic baritone. Fauré’s Pelléas, meanwhile, beautifully shaped and textured, reminded us what a fine piece it is, and that we hear it all too infrequently.

Bachtrack, 3 March 2015
In the well-known “Sicilienne” harp (Bryn Lewis) and flute (Gareth Davies) formed a winning partnership, and in the concluding “Death of Mélisande” Hill allowed no indulgence, urging the music forward always with an acute ear to instrumental balance.

Seen and Heard International, 2 March 2015
The cool, clear tone of the ladies of the LSO Chorus was a particular delight... David Hill negotiated an eloquent path through the score, and both Nicole Cabell and Kelley O'Connor entered fully into the work's ethereal spirit.

Classical Source, 1 March 2015
Once again, the London Symphony Chorus was on fine form in music whose often intricate translucency can all too easily become turgid if the balance between vocal registers, and with that of the orchestra, goes awry. That this was never an issue was a tribute to the expertise of chorus-director Simon Halsey.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Balakirev/Glazunov/Rachmaninov - Valery Gergiev/Roman Simovic

The Times, 23 February 2015
Simovic played with both physical and linguistic ease, guiding the bittersweet cadenza through to a rondo finale both rough-hewn and bucolic. Here was village fiddler turned virtuoso. Simovic gleefully took risks exceeded only in his chosen encore: the long and devilish transcription made by Nathan Milstein of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1. This brought the house down.

Seen and Heard, 22 February 2015
This was clearly a well-rehearsed performance, the upper strings supremely together at speed, the brass a wall of magnificence. There was a Tchaikovskian depth of emotion to the long-breathed lines here, the dark side of the piece fully honoured in the first movement so that the Mendelssohnian flickerings of the second movement could make their full mark. The finale had a fascinating underlying joyous feel and a wonderful lyric outpouring. Rachmaninov surely dreamt of a performance such as this.

Bachtrack, 20 February 2015
The soloist was Roman Simovic, familiar to audiences as the orchestra's leader since 2010. He is a stylish player with a sweet lyrical sound and his performance of the Glazunov was neatly self-contained. The slow section flowed beautifully... Milstein's transcription of themes from Liszt's Mephisto Waltz no. 1, allowed Simovic to display demonic virtuosity at greater length in an encore.

Daily Telegraph, 20 February 2015
Roman Simovic had a delightfully sweet-toned lyricism, and an easy, smiling virtuosity. It was just what was needed to reveal the charm in this somewhat earnest, solidly-crafted piece. In his encore, Simovic carried off a feat that on the face of it seems impossible; recreating the heroic piano pyrotechnics of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz no 1, on the four strings of a violin. He made it seem entirely natural.

Classical Source, 20 February 2015
The Symphony was so finely interpreted, setting off different moods and characters in excellent fashion. The problematic opening viola bars in the Scherzo were also admirably solved, Gergiev's tempos throughout being wholly convincing, revealing the astonishing originality of this work to the full.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Liszt/Mahler - Gianandrea Noseda/Alice Sara Ott

The Sunday Times, 22 February 2015
Her [Alice Sara Ott] virtuosity was breathtaking, as was the disjunction between her slender, barefooted prescence and the simply feral assault she mounted on the instrument's bass register near the start. Her total command of this exhibitionistic though compelling music, along with Gianandrea Noseda's fiery Italianate conducting, made the performance treasurable.

The Times, 18 February 2015
The playing was furiously intense and engaged, hard in on the heel of the bow, brutally heavy on the bass. Noseda's Sixth leaves little room to breathe, let along think. It is certainly arresting, this fast-boiling brew of feverish trills, vicious percussion, menacing brass and cimbalom-like confection of harp and cellos; less premonition of tragedies to come than a roar of fury at tragedies already visited.

The Guardian, 17 February 2015
Noseda's approach - never indulgent, always rhythmically taut - perfectly conveyed the sense of its four-movement classical proportions, even with the orchestral apparatus such a vast one, and the music operating over such a span of time.

Seen and Heard, 17 February 2015
This evening of Liszt and Mahler was possibly the best purely orchestral concert I can ever remember! I do not have the words to descibe the Finale enough... Even though I knew what was coming the brass seemed to lull me into a false sense of security making the last fortissimo A minor full orchestra chord even more terrifying in its suddenness than I can ever remember hearing it before. It was as if I had glimpsed Mahler's soul.

Daily Telegraph, 16 February 2015
The soloist was Alice Sara Ott, who despite her sylph-like frame, made the military rodomontade of Liszt's piece ring out with heroic force.
The real challenge [of the Mahler] is the half-hour Finale. This has to recover from the two "hammer-blows" of fate, only to fall at the last, a narrative Noseda shaped with unerring skill.

Bachtrack, 15 Feb 2015
Noseda never let the tension flag once in the long finale, driving on from climax to climax, undercut at each turn, the orchestra responding with vivid playing. A staggering, exhausting, high-octane performance.

Classical Source, 15 Feb 2015
Her [Alice Sara Ott's] virtuosity, of the highest technical accomplishment, was always placed at the service of the music and the wide-ranging journey the Concerto undertakes. Ott additionally gave us great power and drive where necessary; in all, a very fine rendition, such as one rarely encounters in any music.

Thursday 5 February 2015

PatrickBrennan/Berlioz/Tchaikovsky - Sir Mark Elder/Susan Graham

Classical Source, 5 Feb 2015
Graham, in velvety voice, sang within herself but always with vividness and import, expressing from the heart the solitariness of lost love and such haunted images as a cemetery bathed in moonlight and doing so with a real feel for the eerily picturesque.

The Guardian, 6 Feb 2015
... such a performance, full of carefully chiselled detail, made the case for the symphony as one of the great achievements of late Romanticism far better than any more histrionic one might have done.

Bachtrack, 6 Feb 2015
Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony was given a powerhouse rendition which had many things to admire in it. Turbo-charged string playing, light-as-a-feather flutes and lacerating brass were all on aural display, yet it was the quiet playing which impressed most.

Seen and Heard, 8 Feb 2015
The finale, blessed with superbly controlled strings, breathed beautifully without taking us to a place of absolute stillness. This was a thought-provoking reading to end a thought-provoking concert.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Webern/Beethoven/Brahms - David Afkham/Nicholas Angelich

Sunday Times Culture, 8 Feb 2015
The young German conductor David Afkam's Barbican account with the LSO of Brahms's Symphony No 2 was idiomatic, deeply felt and vigorous - altogether distinguished.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Toshio Hosokawa/Ravel/Mahler - Robin Ticciati/Simon Trpceski/Karen Cargill

Seen and Heard International, 26 Jan 2015
The whip crack that begins Ravel's G major concerto took us into a vastly different sound world. Simon Trpčeski and the orchestra played up the jazzy elements of the opening movement with a good deal of flair.

The Guardian, 27 Jan 2015
If the Hosokawa glowed from within, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G positively glittered, thanks to pianist Simon Trpčeski, whose playing was witty, buoyant and always in cahoots with the orchestra.

Seen and Heard, 26 Jan 2015
The LSO’s playing was superlative in every way, throughout the concert.

Bachtrack, 26 Jan 2015
The quality of the LSO’s string sound is well known and loved, but in case anyone had forgotten, this work provided a splendid showcase for it: richness, lustre and precision dynamics.

Classical Source, 26 Jan 2015
Ticciati's conducting was made the more impressive by his insistence on a wide gradation of dynamic, even down to ppp, and wonderfully observed, raising the stature of this very well-played performance by several cubits. Recently the LSO has given us truly memorable accounts of Mahler symphonies - the Ninth under Daniel Harding and the First from Nikolaj Znaider - and Ticciati's was fully in the same class.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Verdi/Prokofiev/Falla/Rimsky-Korsakov - Xian Zhang/Valentina Lisitsa

Financial Times, 20 Jan 2015
The overture to Verdi's La forza del destino hurtled to its fate. The Spanish dances in the second suite from Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat pounded the red-hot earth. Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol sizzles at full force in the midday heat.

Seen and Heard, 19 Jan 2015
To close we heard Rimsky’s splendid Capriccio espagnol, an abandoned, bright and jolly display of the very first order. The piece is a splendid romp, and it was clear the orchestra enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.

The Independent, 19 Jan 2015
This unashamedly showy work may be a mere parade of effects, but with live-wire direction from the Chinese conductor Xian Zhang, Lisitsa and the London Symphony Orchestra beat up an admirable storm. Zhang and Lisitsa seem made for each other.

Classical Source, 19 Jan 2015
...we were in good hands. Zhang’s conducting was intensely dramatic and appealingly lyrical in turn, and her intense rapport with the LSO was clear enough.

Bachtrack, 19 Jan 2015
Zhang drew playing of such brio from the LSO... the ballet’s finale, found brass and percussion stamping out the rhythms, castanets employed enthusiastically.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Webern/Berg/Ligeti/Stravinsky - Sir Simon Rattle/Barbara Hannigan

The Express, 25 Jan 2015
The concert ended with Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Rattle and the LSO captured the primitive energy of the score, and the dark foreboding that leads to the final sacrifice. Unforgettable.

The Sunday Times, 25 Jan 2015
The soprano Barbara Hannigan was the passionately assured soloist in a moving, thrilling evocation of the opera; and, tricked out as a saucy schoolgirl in white shirt and tartan miniskirt, she easily met Ligeti's madcap demands in Mysteries of the Macabre.

musicOMH, 21 Jan 2015
Rattle led an assured and compelling interpretation, rich in colour and detail and achieving a terrifying climax in the fourth movement funeral march... Luxuriance of texture and intensity of emotion were the hallmarks of the performance of Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck that followed.

The Times, 19 Jan 2015
The Webern was made to sound like Mahler taken to the next level: harmonically abrasive and orchestrally deconstructed, yet full of late romantic anguish made thrillingly vivid.

The Daily Telegraph, 19 January 2015
Rattle, for his part, threw himself into the antics of Ligeti’s piece with gusto.

The Observer, 18 Jan 2015
...he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra on Thursday in Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with a zest, fury and joy that stirred a thrilling sense of renewal in these dark days. In this, and in Webern’s haunting Six Pieces for Orchestra, the LSO’s playing was at once meticulous and, as required, explosive.

Financial Times, 18 Jan 2015
As the second part unfolded its slow, atmopsheric introduction, Rattle seemed to plunge ever deeper into some far-distant world. The LSO players seconded him wholeheartedly, as they had all evening.

Bachtrack, 18 Jan 2015
The LSO’s performance was absolutely stunning; they not only played it faultlessly, but managed to convey the emotional depth of the Six Pieces convincingly.

Classical Source, 16 Jan 2015
He brought the Pieces alive, the LSO confident of every colour, nuance and dovetailing phrase... from suspenseful shadows to a seismic and desperate climax, and then a shocking silence in its aftermath.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Schumann Das Paradies und die Peri - Sir Simon Rattle/Sally Matthews

The Sunday Times, 25 Jan 2015
Impassioned contributions from everyone involved... and the soprano Sally Matthews in the title role shatteringly resplendent. Mark Padmore was a fiercely eloquent Narrator, the LSO Chorus a potent force.

The Times, 13 Jan 2015
Rattle polished up these jewels to a glittering shine.

The Guardian, 13 Jan 2015
Mark Padmore was a model of clarity as the narrator, Bernarda Fink her usual unfussy, perfectly poised self as the Angel, while having Kate Royal, Andrew Staples and Florian Boesch (spellbinding in his aria at the beginning of the third part) as the other soloists made for a luxury lineup.

Classical Music Magazine, 12 Jan 2015
In Rattle’s hands, the work leapt forward, lithe and wary... the male chorus exploded with shocking force, evoking war and ‘rivers of blood’. Even their English consonants couldn’t dampen the seething energy chorus master Simon Halsey had inspired from them.

The Telegraph, 12 Jan 2015
...he drew refined playing from the strings and winds especially. The LSO hasn’t often played with such cultivation recently.

The Independent, 12 Jan 2015
Rattle and co gave it the best possible airing, with Mark Padmore as the narrator, Sally Matthews as the Peri, and a first-class line-up of subsidiary soloists.

London Evening Standard, 12 Jan 2015
Sally Matthews as the Peri fully engaged our sympathies for the resourceful spirit, capturing alike her plaintive entreaties and her vibrant exultation at the prospect of redemption.

The Arts Desk, 12 Jan 2015
But best of all was Rattle himself... technically, his conducting was flawless, and his ability to negotiate Schumann’s often abrupt transitions gave the piece a sense of flow it may otherwise have lacked. His communication with the musicians is direct and powerful, the result more of a shared passion than of any histrionics at the podium.

Classical Source, 12 Jan 2015
The classical-sized LSO (with five double basses) was at its elegant best in Schumann’s luminous orchestration, and Rattle’s empathy with the work’s symphonic weight and song-like intimacy transcended its sentimental origin.

Opera Brittania, 12 Jan 2015
Rattle carefully marshalled these forces: his ear for balance remains as keen as ever, and there were some ravishing examples of phrase and hushed dynamic. But what really impressed anew was his ability simply – simply! – to enable a performance, rather than impose one.

Bachtrack, 12 Jan 2015
The music in Parts III and IV continued to be full of melody and full of contrasts, Rattle's sense of pace and balance continued to display the LSO at their very best.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Aaron Parker/Beethoven/Mahler - Nikolaj Znaider/Rudolf Buchbinder

Bachtrack, 19 Dec 2014
... the LSO players have an uncanny ability to maintain their tonal control even at the very loudest dynamics. The endings of the first, second and fourth movements were just stunning, not only for the raw energy, but for the way that the climaxes had been carefully prepared.

Classical Source, 19 Dec 2014
The concert ended with Mahler’s First Symphony. It is no exaggeration to say that this was a superlative account, conducted by Znaider from memory, utterly gripping and involving from first bar to last. In the course of more than fifty years of concert-going and record-collecting I do not think I have heard a greater performance than this – equal, but none greater.

LSO on Film: The Magic and Majesty of Alexandre Desplat

11 December 2014

CultureFly, 12 Dec 2014
As the evening draws to a close, Desplat makes sure to save a little magic for the finale, ending on The Imitation Game, Harry Potter and his work in French cinema. The applause echoing through the Barbican is enthusiastic and well deserved.

The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition

8 December 2014

Evening Standard
Guardian
Classical Source
Classical Music Magazine
New York Times
Classicalite
Music Times

Sunday 7 December 2014

Brahms - Daniel Harding/Emanuel Ax

Classical Source, 8 Dec 2014
Harding kept all the checks and balances of orchestral splendor and chamber-music intimacy moving with tactful control, and the LSO’s playing was at its superlative, radiant best.

Singapore & Australia Tour

17–30 November 2014

Melbourne, Arts Centre Melbourne: 28 November

Herald Sun, 1 Dec 2014
In the Classical Symphony of Prokofiev the strings particularly impressed. The exposed, stratospheric first-violin figures of the first movement were delicate but never tentative, and the impossibly quick finale was exhilarating for its sparkling precision.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1 Dec 2014
... the body is finely honed with elegant, assertive strings and splendid first-desk personnel among the woodwind, notably the principal flute and oboe.

Sydney, Sydney Opera House: 26 November

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Nov 2014
Demonic in quick music, musically absorbed in slow, he mesmerised the audience with his performance of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev with commanding concentration and incisiveness.

Limelight Magazine, 27 Nov 2014
... this was Gergiev and his wonderful band setting up their stall in spectacular fashion under 33-year-old leader Roman Simovic

Sydney, Sydney Opera House: 25 November

Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Nov 2014
The most impressive element, however, was their responsiveness. Getting 100 people to play as one is hard. Getting them to change direction, or speed, or mood, on a dime, is quite extraordinary. At times it felt like they were making it up as they went along, changing pace on a whim, and yet I struggled to hear a single note out of place.

Limelight Magazine, 26 Nov 2014
[Shostakovich Symphony No 10] is a Gergiev speciality and the LSO’s performance last night could probably not have been bettered anywhere on the planet.

Sydney, Sydney Opera House: 24 November

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Nov 2014
It was in moments like the second theme of the third movement, that the deep cohesion and unanimity of the LSO's strings shone through, while the finale rejoiced in shrill swagger from the clarinet and raucous percussion.

Bachtrack, 25 Nov 2014
Right from the opening chord, every phrase, every entry, every musical question and its response was presented in a phenomenally translucent way, heard like this only on rare occasions – not only in Australian concert halls but anywhere around the world.

Limelight Magazine, 25 Nov 2014
[Prokofiev Symphony No 5] is one of the few dozen or so genuinely great symphonies of the 20th century and Gergiev and LSO gave the most powerful and intense performances I’ve ever heard.

The Daily Telegraph, 25 Nov 2014
piano, strings and brass (including a show-stopping trumpet solo) all shone as they teased out the cruelty and pain in the sad tale of the puppet Petrushka

Brisbane, Queensland Performing Arts Centre: 22 November 2014

The Australian, 24 Nov 2014
...so searing was the orchestral sound, so thrilling the sense that everyone, right to the back desks of the strings, was playing for their lives.

Singapore, The Esplanade: 20 November 2014

The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2014
Gergiev broke the mould with comfortable tempos for the first three movements, and a brisk but unhurried finale. The finesse and obvious ability of all the musicians made for a polished performance

Singapore, The Esplanade: 19 November 2014

The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2014
The rousing brass fanfare was followed by a series of impressive solo runs from the woodwinds, establishing the tenor of the work, which flourished on its fast-paced and high-octane delivery.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Balakirev/Rachmaninov - Valery Gergiev/Denis Matsuev

Bachtrack, 12 Nov 2014
Under Gergiev’s burning gaze, the LSO carved out a searing Rachmaninov Third Symphony that almost left scorch marks on the Barbican Hall’s wood panelling.

Classical Source, 12 Nov 2014
This was Gergiev and the LSO at their finest, performing music by his great fellow-countryman with extraordinary insight and technical command, passionate yet never overdone.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Elgar/Beethoven/Sally Beamish - Gianandrea Noseda/Nelson Freire/Shuna Sendall/Marcus Farnsworth

The Observer, 9 Nov 2014
The choruses, terrifically delivered by the London Symphony Chorus, range from hymn-like to snarling. If the work continues the musical line stretching from Elgar’s Gerontius to Britten’s War Requiem, no one should complain.

Sunday Times, 9 Nov 2014
Simon Halsey had trained the chorus to a high incisiveness. And the orchestra gave, as it always does, everything it had to the score - one that stood out for absolute clarity of effect, harmonic control, professionalism of every kind.

The Times, 4 Nov 2014
The score is cunningly and energetically crafted ... the music is by turns impassioned, brittle, ironic and enraptured.

Financial Times, 3 Nov 2014
Beamish has paced Equal Voices skilfully and the work feels less than its 50 minutes. But it is ultimately the poetry that packs the punch. Gianandrea Noseda conducted the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra in a tightly-controlled performance.

The Guardian, 3 Nov 2014
Then for something utterly, exhilaratingly different came Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, played with such astonishing freshness, clarity and unfussy poetry by Nelson Freire, that it seemed as if he and we in the audience were discovering it all over again.

Classical Source, 3 Nov 2014
The most successful aspect of Equal Voices was the urgent reportage style of Marcus Farnsworth’s vivid singing. He released the bite of Motion’s poetry with compelling drama, and there was a similar immediacy to the short, dour, impressionist orchestral interludes that occur through the work’s five sections.

London Evening Standard, 3 Nov 2014
Sally Beamish’s new commission, Equal Voices, proved an ambitious, moving commemoration of the centenary of the First World War... the final section, with its epic sweep and spiritual uplift, soared onto a new level.

The Telegraph, 3 Nov 2014
In the end it was the naïve fervour of the Elgar which actually lingered in the mind. That, and something which had nothing whatever to do with the First World War; a wonderful, glowing performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto from Nelson Freire.

Contact

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London
EC2Y 8DS

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Administration: +44 20 7588 1116
Box Office: +44 20 7638 8891

> List of Administration

 

LSO St Luke's

UBS & LSO Music Education Centre
161 Old Street
London
EC1V 9NG

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Administration: +44 20 7490 3939
Box Office: +44 20 7638 8891

> List of Administration

 

Who should I contact?

Here is a list of contacts for frequently asked questions:

Ticketing queries
For Barbican and LSO St Luke's events
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+44 20 7638 8891

Hire the LSO
Mario de Sa, Concerts & Recordings Manager
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> Read more

Hire LSO St Luke's
LSO St Luke's Events Managers
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+44 20 7566 2871

> Read more

Press Enquiries
Chris Millard, Head of Press & External Affairs  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

> Read more

Archive enquiries
Libby Rice, Archivist
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> Read more

Video

{youtubegalleryid=LSOvideos}

FAQs

Latest news

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Keeping Everyone Safe

You can find more information on the safety measures currently in place on the following pages:

Ways to Support Us

The Members of the LSO are the lifeblood of the Orchestra, and without them, we would simply not exist. As we emerge from the most challenging period of a generation, there are a number of ways you can support the Orchestra, allow us to perform together again on stage and to continue sharing our music with the broadest range of people possible:

There are a number of ways you can support us, to help us through this difficult time:

Thank you all for your support.


Attending a concert

We have the answers to all your questions about attending LSO concerts at the Barbican Centre and events at LSO St Luke's in our Your Visit section.

Concert-going FAQs


Online Booking

**Please note the following information is subject to change during the current situation. Please refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information above.**

Is there a booking fee?

Yes. Booking fees are per transaction and not per ticket:

  • £3 online booking (Barbican Centre) or £0.60 (LSO St Luke's)
  • £4 telephone booking (Barbican Centre) or £0.70 (LSO St Luke's)
  • No booking fee when booking in person

Can I exchange my tickets?

If for any reason you are unable to use your tickets, we offer a flexible exchange service. Tickets can be exchanged for another performance or for a credit voucher valid for six months. You must return your tickets to the Barbican Box Office, Barbican Centre, London EC2Y 8DS, to arrive at least 24 hours before the performance (14 days for group bookings of 10 or more).

There is an administration fee of £2.50 per ticket for all ticket exchange services. Tickets purchased as part of a subscription or multi-buy package where discounts have been generated cannot be exchanged for credit vouchers or performances out with the original qualifying package.

Tickets received less than 24 hours before the performance will only be offered for sale once all other tickets have been sold at the discretion of the Ticket Sales manager. If your tickets are successfully re-sold, you will receive a refund of the value for which they are resold minus an administration fee of £2.50 per ticket. Successfully reselling tickets on your behalf - even for sold out performances - is never guaranteed and we would recommend exchanging your tickets 24hrs in advance for ticket credit vouchers.

What is your refund policy?

Ticket purchases
If for any reason you are unable to use your tickets, we offer a flexible exchange service. See above for details.

Music purchases
If for any reason you are unhappy with your music purchase, please contact LSO Live via email, or speak to David Millinger, LSO Live Production Manager on +44 (0)20 7588 1116. You can return the disc to us in its original condition within 30 days of the date you received the item, unopened (with any seals and shrink-wrap intact) and we will issue a full refund for the price you paid for the item. Please note: we can only accept the return of opened items if they are faulty.

Memberships and Donations
Full refunds can be issued on LSO Friends memberships and Donations. If you require a refund, please contact the Friends Administrator on +44 (0)20 7588 1116 in the first instance, who will arrange for the refund to be made.

To whom does the concession rate apply?

LSO concerts at the Barbican do not have concession prices as standard, however we do have various discounts available. Please see our ‘Discounts’ and ‘Wildcards’ pages for more information.

LSO Discovery Days, Singing Days, Soundhub Showcase and BBC Radio 3 Concerts have concessions available for senior citizens over 65, recipients of Universal or Pension Credit and full time students.

Tickets for children under 18 are available at all events for £5.

Is VAT included in my booking?

20% VAT (value-added tax) is included in the price of all concert tickets.

Recordings ordered within the UK or EU also include VAT, but it does not apply to orders outside these regions. VAT will be automatically deducted from recording orders to regions outside the UK and EU. Postage charges, donations and memberships are not subject to VAT.

What does it mean if a concert is 'sold out'?

If a 'Sold Out' button appears on the details for a particular concert, it means there are no more tickets available. However, sometimes returned tickets become available for sale. You should telephone the Barbican Box Office on +44 20 7638 8891 a few days before or on the day of the concert to find out if there are any returns available.

Will you post my tickets to me?

Yes, provided that you have not booked a concert taking place within the next 7 days. If you have booked a concert taking place during the next week, you will need to collect your tickets as follows:

  • For Barbican concerts, collect your tickets from the Stalls Box Office on level minus one, which opens 90 minutes before a performance.
  • For LSO St Luke's concerts, collect from the box office desk in the entrance to LSO St Luke's, which opens 60 minutes before a performance.
  • You can also collect your tickets at any other time from the Barbican Centre Ticket Information Desk located in the Shop on level G.

What credit/debit cards do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Maestro credit and debit cards. We accept Paypal for recording purchases and donations.

How are currencies other than UK Pounds handled?

If you normally receive your card statement in a currency other than UK Pounds, your credit card company will convert the transaction into your own currency on your statement.

Can I purchase recordings at the same time as tickets?

No, we have a separate booking process for recordings.

Can I purchase a membership or make a donation at the same time as tickets?

Yes, please follow the prompts once you have placed a ticket in your basket.

Can I book tickets for any LSO concert via this site?

You can book all LSO concerts taking place at the Barbican Centre on this website, and for certain events at LSO St Luke's. Where possible we provide box office details for concerts taking place at other UK venues or outside the UK.

Can I book my concert tickets at any time?

Yes, this is a 24 hour booking system. Please note that online booking closes 90 minutes before the start of the performance. Booking can still be made on the phone on +44 20 7638 8891 and in person up to the start of the concert.

Can I make a Group booking?

Yes. Up to nine tickets can be purchased for any single concert online, however a variety of benefits are available for groups of 10 or more. For details please visit our Groups page or telephone on +44 20 7382 7211.

Can I make a series multi-buy booking?

Yes. You can save up to 40% on your tickets with our Multibuy Concert Packages.

How do I use my discount promotion code?

If you have a promotion code to claim a discount you should enter it into the box on the ‘Your basket’ page, and click apply. Your new total will then be calculated.

How do I know which password to use?

When you have selected the concert or concerts you'd like to book, you'll be asked to enter your email address. If you have an existing account with either the Barbican Centre or the LSO you will be prompted to enter your password. If you have forgotten your password or have not logged in since January 2020, you will need to click on the ‘forgotten password’ link to reset your password. Please follow the instructions on screen to do this.

What do I do if something goes wrong when I'm using the online booking/ticket purchase/donation system?

Please send us an email including the following information:

  1. Where you are using your computer (eg at home, at work, in college)
  2. The operating system you are using (eg Mac OS X, Windows 7)
  3. The browser you are using (eg Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari)
  4. If known, the version of the browser you are using (eg Internet Explorer 11, Chrome v42)
  5. A description of what happened when you tried to use online booking
  6. Details of any error messages you received

For ticket problems send your email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For problems with buying recordings send your email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For problems making a donation please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you require assistance immediately or late in the evening and at weekends, please call the Box Office team on +44 20 7638 8891, they are open Monday to Saturday 10am–8pm, Sunday 11am–8pm.

Is the LSO online booking system secure?

Making bookings, purchases or donations on this website is easy and secure. We know of no documented cases of credit card fraud using our shopping system over the Internet.

Can I book wheelchair spaces online?

No. Our disabled visitors are advised to become a member of the Barbican Centre's Access Scheme and book via the Barbican Box Office so that specific requirements - such as carers, wheelchairs and needing information in alternative formats - can be taken into consideration when booking. Disabled visitors may be entitled to discounts on tickets through this scheme.

Find out more about the Barbican's Access Scheme and join online on the Barbican website

Contact the Barbican's Access Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone +44 20 7382 7389/7083 during office hours.

Barbican box office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +44 20 7638 8891.


Archives

Got a question about our Archives or history? Have a look through these FAQs.

Archives FAQs


Buying CDs online

All you need to know about buying LSO Live CDs and downloads through the LSO Live shop.

LSO Live FAQs

 

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Where can you find us?

Watching YouTube on your TV?

Follow our instructions to access concerts via the YouTube app.
> Follow the instructions to watch on your TV

Programme notes

Our programme notes are available to read digitally for free, and will be available for the whole season.
> Find programme notes