Concert reviews: Vladimir Jurowski conducts John Adams's 'El Niño', 14 December 2013

On Saturday 14 December 2013 at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, Vladimir Jurowski conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir in John Adams's 'Nativity Oratorio' El Niño. The soloists were Rosemary Joshua, Kelley O'Connor, Matthew Rose, Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings and Steven Rickards.

Here are the press reviews ...

'The orchestra was on absolutely top form throughout, triumphing over Adams' challenges each time. The unanimity of high first violins calls for special comment ... The voices were exquisitely balanced, and capable of a most touching lyricism and impeccable legato lines. The London Philharmonic Choir, too, excelled. A very special evening.'
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 15 December 2013

'We could only be humbled by the incredible achievement of the dedicated forces Vladimir Jurowski had mustered for the special occasion ... his London Philharmonic players registered the host of inspired ideas so beautifully that you wanted to weep at their transience'
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 15 December 2013

'The many-layered orchestral texture, shot through with Adams' ticking minimalist patterns, was rendered with delicate precision by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.'
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 15 December 2013

'The words of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz give the mezzo the most searching and aching "blues", something which Kelley O'Connor embraced most movingly. And then there was Rosemary Joshua digging deep (now we understood why the soloists needed to be amplified) to mine the malice and voice the outrage on behalf of slaughtered innocents everywhere.'
Edward Seckerson (blog), 15 December 2013

'Vladimir Jurowski conducted with surety and a steely command of the oratorio's meanings, while soloists Rosemary Joshua, Matthew Rose, and the three superb countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings and Steven Rickards all performed at the height of their game.' (5 stars)
Sam Smith, MusicOMH, 16 December 2013

'Much of the solo writing made a keen impact – especially the trio of close-harmony countertenors (Daniel Brubeck, Brian Cummings and Steven Rickards), as well as in the tenderness of Rosemary Joshua's lucid soprano, the commitment of Kelley O'Connor's spicy mezzo and the grand rhetoric of Matthew Rose's eloquent bass.'
George Hall, The Guardian, 16 December 2013

'Adams's musical invention seemed fresh and prolific, and Vladimir Jurowski was open to the undercurrent of repeated pulses. He kept the music on a tight rein, but allowed Adams's melodies to ebb and flow naturally.'
Nick Breckenfield, Classical Source, 16 December 2013

'Adams's chugging, minimalist rhythms were perfectly sprung; and everywhere the sound-world was of brilliant clarity, sparkling with the glitter of tuned percussion, and rising at its climaxes to textures that were positively rapturous. Where the original cast had drawn emotions from the earth, here we had the radiance of light and air.'
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 16 December 2013