sun 19/01/2020

LSO

Ibragimova, LSO, Stutzmann, Barbican review – grace and gravity

Alina Ibragimova’s solo journey (in 2015) through the peaks and abysses of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas gave me vivid Proms memories to treasure for a lifetime. The Russian-born violinist’s Bach abounds in both majesty and tenderness, as well as a...

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Cargill, LSO, Pappano, Barbican review - high anxiety and visionary gleams

What a jolting coincidence that one of the 20th century's angriest symphonic beasts should have a rare unleashing on a night of high national anxiety. Whether Vaughan Williams spewed forth his Fourth Symphony in response to darkening European clouds...

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Roméo et Juliette, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - surprisingly sober take on Berlioz epic

So much was fresh and exciting about Michael Tilson Thomas's years as the London Symphony Orchestra's Principal Conductor (1988-1995; I don't go as far back as his debut, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated this season). Carved in the memory...

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London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Ono, Barbican review - feet on the ground, eyes to the skies

We have John Eliot Gardiner to thank for an unconventional diptych of Czech masterpieces in the London Symphony Orchestra's current season. He had to withdraw from last night's concert - he conducts Dvořák's Cello Concerto and Suk's "Asrael"...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican Hall review – visions of the beyond

Simon Rattle has a knack for unearthing large-scale orchestral works that pack a punch. Olivier Messiaen’s Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà … (Illuminations of the Beyond …) was completed in 1991, a year before the composer’s death, and is both a reflection on...

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Prom 44: Finley, LSO & Chorus, Orfeó Català, Rattle review - lurid inter-war triptych

So the Proms ignored the Berlioz anniversary challenge to perform his Requiem and serve up four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass. Yet at least last night in works of the 1920s and 1930s we got one offstage in the crazed baggy-...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Rattle, LSO, Barbican review – dark magic in the woods

As midsummer night’s dreams go, it would be hard to surpass the darkly enchanting collaboration between Sir Simon Rattle and Peter Sellars that will bring The Cunning Little Vixen to the Barbican again this evening and on Saturday. Janáček’s...

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LSO, Guildhall School, Rattle, Barbican review - irresistible momentum

The Barbican Hall hardly boasts the numinous acoustic of Gloucester Cathedral for which Vaughan Williams composed his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, but Sir Simon Rattle has long known how to build space into the architecture of what he...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - inner magic eventually joins outward mastery

Nearly 17 years ago, Simon Rattle inaugurated his era at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic with Mahler's Fifth Symphony. It couldn't hope to possess the thrill of discovery which had marked his Birmingham Mahler – after all, the Berliners had long...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review – a brace of souped-up symphonies

It’s a fair bet that more people now know Harmonielehre as the title of the 1985 orchestral blockbuster by John Adams than the composition manual written by Schoenberg in 1922. Even the title is “typically, ironically John”, as Sir Simon Rattle...

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Faust, Matthews, LSO, Haitink, Barbican review - glimpses of heaven

Vibrant rustic dancing to conclude the first half, a heavenly barcarolle to cast a spell of silence at the end of the second: Bernard Haitink's 90th birthday celebrations of middle-European mastery wrought yet more magic in Dvořák and Mahler after...

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Fellner, LSO, Haitink, Barbican review - the master at 90

So this is how Bruckner's Fourth Symphony should go. It's taken a master conductor just past his 90th birthday and an orchestra on top form to teach me. No doubt Claudio Abbado and Brucknermeister Gunter Wand could have done so, too, but I never...

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