Concert reviews: Vladimir Jurowski conducts MacMillan and Mahler, 15 January 2014

On Wednesday 15 January at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Vladimir Jurowski gave the world premiere of James MacMillan's Viola Concert with soloist Lawrence Power. This was followed by Mahler's Symphony No. 6.

Here are the press reviews...

'I was grateful for insights like the pizzicato to-ing and fro-ing behind the first movement chorale, the incisive violas, the ever-present tuba lines from the peerless Lee Tsarmaklis – somehow, like contrabassoonist Simon Estell, managing to co-ordinate with the double basses right over on the far left of the platform.'
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 16 January 2014

'There was much to admire in this performance – Jurowski's clarifying ear (many textural revelations) and the majestic playing of the LPO, tirelessly impressive (especially given the programme) in every department (what a star the first trumpet Paul Beniston is)'
Edward Seckerson (blog), 16 January 2014

'Boring it wasn't, the dodgier moments enlivened by the skilful deployment of tuned percussion and the superb eloquence of Lawrence Power. A gratifyingly attentive, fullish house too.'
David Gutman, Classical Source, 16 January 2014

'[The MacMillan] is an attractive enough work and Power's commitment to it was never in doubt.' (4 stars)
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 16 January 2014

'The tender, yielding moments were not especially tender in this reading [of Mahler 6], but the performance was riveting nonetheless. This was due in part to the players' relish of the music's extraordinary tone-colours, especially the Scherzo, with its slow-motion danse macabre. Just as important was Jurowski's forensic way of revealing the music's contrapuntal detail. His shaping of the huge Finale, with its two crushing hammer-blows, had a pitiless exactitude.'
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 16 January 2014

'It was one of those rare performances that actually changes the way you think about and hear a piece of standard repertoire. The orchestra was right there with Jurowski all the way through ... The orchestra achieved a wonderful blend, balance, and richness of sound. The woodwinds especially played with a great range of colors and characters, the brass were powerful without being over-bearing, and the percussion section was extremely precise. All in all, it was a captivating evening that I will be thinking about for some time to come.'
Jonathan Russell, Bachtrack, 17 January 2014

'Beneath its abstract classicism the music speaks of sorrow, hope, tenderness, excitement, resolve. Best of all, MacMillan understands and exploits the viola's expressive potential, while keeping the emotions on the right side of kitsch.There is no musician today better equipped to play it than the minstrel-like Power, who sounded properly fired up and downright inspired from first note to last.'
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 17 January 2014

'James MacMillan has said he loved writing for the instrument and its player. Lawrence Power, in turn, looked as if he adored playing it. The cheers suggested everyone was of the same mind.' (4 stars)
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 19 January 2014

'As delivered by the terrific Lawrence Power and the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski, the Scot's new Viola Concerto was an enthralling half-hour ... So many enigmas to unpick! I immediately wanted to hear the piece again.'
Richard Morrison, The Times, 19 January 2014 (online access for Times subscribers only)

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and is available to listen again online until 22 January via BBC iPlayer.