Concert Reviews: 7, 8, 11 and 13 February 2015

The first half of February saw the LPO perform three more Rachmaninoff: Inside Out concerts which also included performances of the rarely performed mighty Enescu Symphony No. 3, and audiences were almost literally blown away by Shostakovich’s emotionally draining Symphony No. 4. Younger audiences were enraptured by Colin Matthews’s premiere of The Pied Piper of Hamelin based on Michael Morpurgo’s retelling of the tale of the stranger with the magical flute.

Here’s what the critics had to say:

Saturday 7 February, Royal Festival Hall

Rachmaninoff Three Russian Songs | Spring
Enescu Symphony No. 3

Vladimir Jurowski conductor | Andrei Bondarenko baritone
London Philharmonic Choir | Trinity Boys Choir

Jurowski seems to have reached the magic state when he can summon a packed house to hear anything he conducts with the LPO, however unfamiliar.

Jurowski’s LPO, splendidly rehearsed, had the time of their lives. The tuba danced a brief duet with a harp. A xylophone had a nervous breakdown. Strings spiralled upwards like clouds of incense, or slid with the squelch of a window cleaner’s cloth.

The London Philharmonic Choir was gorgeously accompanied by the orchestra. So much sorrow crept into Jurowski’s phrasings at one point that I almost dropped a tear. Why can’t all concerts be as rewarding and exciting as this?
Geoff Brown, The Arts Desk, 9 Feb 2015

Enescu’s Third Symphony is a work of vaunting ambition and expressive range, and here it received a performance to match.
Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, 9 Feb 2015

Jurowski clarified, pointed and vividly painted Enescu’s apocalyptic visions and its hard-won peace. Rachmaninoff’s Spring Cantata did credit to the LPO’s Rachmaninoff: Inside Out series.

Hilary Finch, The Times, 10 Feb 2015, 4-stars (subscription only)

Read the concert programme online here

Sunday 8 February 2015, Royal Festival Hall

Colin Matthews The Pied Piper of Hamelin, premiere

Vladimir Jurowski conductor | Michael Morpurgo author and narrator | Natalie Walter narrator
Deansfield Primary School Choir

Colin Matthews’s setting was done full justice by the LPO and excellent choir of Deansfield primary school.
The piece is beautifully judged, and the LPO did it full justice.
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 10 Feb 2015, 4-stars

Wednesday 11 February 2015, Royal Festival Hall

Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements
Rachmaninoff
Piano Concerto No. 2 | The Bells (Choral Symphony)

Vasily Petrenko conductor | Jorge Luis Prats piano
Anna Samuil
soprano | Daniil Shtoda tenor | Andrei Bondarenko baritone
London Philharmonic Choir

This was an impressive concert, one which displayed the LPO on top form and fully responsive to Vasily Petrenko’s engaging and vibrant interpretations.
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 12 Feb 2015

The warm, well-blended playing of the London Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Vasily Petrenko left no doubt how headily seductive Rachmaninoff’s orchestration could be. That was the main pleasure of this performance, alongside the contribution of the London Philharmonic Choir.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 12 Feb 2015 (subscription required)

Throughout the work (and throughout the concert) the LPO played to its customarily high standard and Petrenko’s conducting seemed just about ideal for The Bells in its combination of energy, strength and warmth of expression.
Alan Sanders, Seen and Heard International, 12 Feb 2015

Read the concert programme online here

Friday 13 February 2015, Royal Festival Hall

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 4 (original version)
Shostakovich Symphony No. 4
Vasily Petrenko
conductor
Alexander Ghindin
piano

Vasily Petrenko and the LPO were alert and attentive.

The finale of the Shostakovich was daringly yet successfully taken at a relatively uniform tempo which ensured long-range momentum across its supposedly disparate sections ... leading to a peroration whose visceral impact (abetted by superb playing from timpani and percussion ...)  The closing pages were fastidiously rendered as to their bleakness and introspection.
Richard Whitehouse Classical Source, 14 Feb 2015

The Orchestra’s beautiful, dark sound seemed exactly right for the Rachmaninoff.

The Shostakovich was a fine ...  performance of this imperfect masterpiece ... the strings, the first violins in particular, were magnificently together throughout, whatever the speed (the fugato, taken at a furious lick, was astonishing). Hefty brass and characterful woodwind reminded us just what a fine ensemble the LPO is.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 16 Feb 2015

From the wailing woodwind alarms, xylophone rattle and dissonant horns of the opening bars [of the Shostakovich], I was pinned back in my seat. Petrenko drew the most scorching playing from the LPO.

The LPO’s woodwind team of 20 was outstanding ...The LPO brass blazed gloriously ...  It was one of those priceless moments where you can sense an entire hall holding its breath. It’s probably a good job that orchestras don’t schedule Shostakovich’s Fourth too often as it’s easy to become emotionally spent after such a shattering performance.
Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack, 14 Feb 2015 4-stars

Read the concert programme online here

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