Concert reviews: Wednesday 5 November 2014

On Wednesday 5 November 2014 at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, Osmo Vänskä conducted the LPO in an all-Sibelius programme featuring The Bard, the Violin Concerto (with soloist Alexandra Soumm) and the Lemminkäinen Suite.

Here are the press reviews ...

‘The performance, with some superb playing from the LPO, especially from its woodwind and brass, was also a perfect demonstration of what makes Vänskä’s Sibelius so special.’ (4 stars)
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 6 November 2014

‘Soumm lived this work the whole way through, a quality evident when, in a rare tacet, she turned to face the orchestra. This was most instructive as Osmo Vänskä was characteristically peeling back the layers of Sibelius’s wondrous orchestration. The violas – so crucial to the Finnish composer’s sound in their germination of small musical cells – were superb, as were all the strings, while woodwinds brought transparent clarity to the slow movement in particular.’
Ben Hogwood, Classical Source, 6 November 2014

‘[Vänskä] is unfailingly sure of foot in his negotiation of Sibelius’ delightfully variegated musical drama, and his directions were precise and endlessly alert to the fine variety of tone, dynamic and rhythm.’
Matthew Wright, The Arts Desk, 6 November 2014

‘The performance, with some superb playing from the LPO, especially from its woodwind and brass, was also a perfect demonstration of what makes Vänskä’s Sibelius so special.’ (4 stars)
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 6 November 2014

‘Like the hero on his ship the music seems to have its eyes fixed on a far horizon, something Vänskä understands very well. He cuts a severe figure on the podium, reaching with a forensic forefinger to bring out a detail, or urging the music on like an impatient traffic cop. But one could hardly mind, when the results were so magnificent. He charged Sibelius’s endless rustling string chords with expectation, and made sure the strange bird-like fanfares had a special iron-grey colour, like the sea at dawn.’ (4 stars)
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 6 November 2014

‘Vänskä proved that the Lemminkäinen Suite has as much depth and profundity as several of the symphonies, and deserves a more prominent place in Sibelius’ output that it perhaps gets, and he elicited commanding solo and ensemble performances from members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.’ (4 stars)
Nick Boston, Bachtrack, 6 November 2014

'So hard-wired has the conductor become to the music of his country’s national composer that there’s an almost supernatural pulse that takes over the London Philharmonic when Vänskä is conducting the ensemble in Sibelius’s music.'
Neil Fisher, The Times, 7 November 2014 (online access for subscribers only)

Read the concert programme online here

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