mon 20/09/2021

London Symphony Orchestra, Adams, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

London Symphony Orchestra, Adams, Barbican Hall

London Symphony Orchestra, Adams, Barbican Hall

American minimalist conducts Britten and Sibelius with varying success

Composer John Adams: as a conductor he was happier surfing Sibelius's Sixth than Britten's Sea Interludes

What would you imagine the composer John Adams might choose to conduct – apart, that is, from a little something he himself made earlier? Well, the first of two London Symphony Orchestra concerts this week brought no big surprises: Sibelius’ Sixth Symphony was in essence a little like returning to his minimalist roots – a bunch of insistent melodic cells and dancing ostinati. Flanking it, as if to reassert that everything Adams writes is essentially operatic, was orchestral music born of opera: Adams’ own Doctor Atomic Symphony and the “Four Sea Interludes” from Britten’s Peter Grimes. Adams, the conductor, had his work cut out.

What would you imagine the composer John Adams might choose to conduct – apart, that is, from a little something he himself made earlier? Well, the first of two London Symphony Orchestra concerts this week brought no big surprises: Sibelius’ Sixth Symphony was in essence a little like returning to his minimalist roots – a bunch of insistent melodic cells and dancing ostinati. Flanking it, as if to reassert that everything Adams writes is essentially operatic, was orchestral music born of opera: Adams’ own Doctor Atomic Symphony and the “Four Sea Interludes” from Britten’s Peter Grimes. Adams, the conductor, had his work cut out.

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