Concert reviews: Eschenbach conducts Messiaen, 2 November 2013

'Tzimon Barto handled every challenge the score threw at him. Occasionally he played with his fists or his forearms, but it was the extraordinary nimbleness of his fingers that got him round the most complex passages. Hardly less impressive were John Ryan's impossibly intricate horn solos...'
Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 4 November 2013

On Saturday 2 November 2013 at Royal Festival Hall, Christoph Eschenbach conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars), with soloists John Ryan (horn), Tzimon Barto (piano), Andrew Barclay (percussion) and Erika Öhman (percussion). Here are the press reviews ...

'God seemed to speak, unanswerable, unchallenged, through Ryan's horn. 'Les Orioles' offered a more fully realised vision of joy in Creation: birdsong of course, but also harmonies that would not have been out of place in L'Ascension, Barclay's contribution to tuned percussion every bit as precise as that of Barto ... Yet again, there was little truly to detract from the gift of awe. And there was a splendid contribution from muted trumpet. The second part opens with the celebrated horn solo, 'Appel interstellaire'. It received a splendid performance from Ryan, echoes and all. Not only was there more tonal variegation than one might reasonably have hoped for; there was, more importantly still, a proper sense of narrative coherence.'
Mark Berry, Boulezian (blog), 2 November 2013

'Particularly in the final sections of the work's three structural divisions, which each describe a geographical location, the London Philharmonic and Eschenbach forged the wide-ranging passages into a coherent unity, notably on the part of the strings in 'Bryce Canyon and the Red-Orange Rocks', where they contrasted striving music with a lighter, dance-like episode, and a radiant anticipation of the starry realm to which the work would eventually be drawn. No less of an achievement was the near-flawless execution of the difficult solo parts.'
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source, 3 November 2013

'Tzimon Barto handled every challenge the score threw at him. Occasionally he played with his fists or his forearms, but it was the extraordinary nimbleness of his fingers that got him round the most complex passages. Hardly less impressive were John Ryan's impossibly intricate horn solos, evoking the pregnant emptiness of both canyons and stars. But it's the teeming richness of the whole that overwhelms, and Eschenbach and his players had the measure of the music's vast perspectives.'
Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 4 November 2013

'This was a thrilling performance. Eschenbach and his players were unflagging in their energy and each individual player navigated his or her immensely challenging part expertly ... Horn soloist John Ryan performed the virtuosic "Appel interstellaire" with seeming ease, and Andrew Barclay's solo glockenspiel playing was startlingly dexterous and exciting. And the orchestral percussion players, each with their own battery of variously-sized instruments, deserve special praise.'
David Fay, Bachtrack, 4 November 2013