LSO with Lugansky and Noseda: Beethoven 4th piano concerto and Shostakovitch 8th symphony

Giandrea Noseda presented a muscled version (for nowadays standards for classical repertoire) of the London Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven 4th piano concerto. Nikolai Lugansky had not problem at all to get his sound filling the Barbican. The fierce attacks from Noseda were usually relaxed when the piano was coming in. Lugansky specially shined on the candezas. The second part, in consonance with the first one, was pure energy. Loudness and exhibitionism suits well to Shostakovitch 8th symphony but Noseda kept it classy by giving all the grows a proper meaning.

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London Symphony Orchestra with Isabelle Faust and Gardiner: Schumann violin concerto and Symphony No 4

Second (and last this year) concert of Gardiner Schumann cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra. The initial programmed Schumann piano concerto was dropped long time ago as Maria Joao Pires is retiring. Replacement was a Mozart piano concerto by Piotr Anderszewski that didn’t make that much sense in the context of the cycle. However, Anderszewski got the flu and he got replaced by Isabelle Faust playing Schumann own violin concerto, that was much more suited.

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London Symphony Orchestra with Ann Hallenberg and Gardiner: Les nuits d'été and Schumann Symphony No 2

What a great concert! Ann Hallenberg is one of the top singers nowadays in the baroque repertoire. She, however, takes also part in some specific romantic opera and concert roles. Berlioz Les nuits d’été is a perfect work for her high mezzo voice and allows her to show characteristics other than her agility: character development and expressiveness. With Gardiner complicity she achieved a top level of beauty with a impressive blending with the orchestral textures.

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London Symphony Orchestra with Francesco Piemontesi and Mark Elder: Janáček and Bartók

I was excited about this concert. The programme opened with some unknown Janáček (composer that I love so much!) work, followed by one of my fav piano concertos (Bartók 3rd) played by a pianist that impressed me on his last Mozart concert at Wigmore Hall last October: Franceso Piemontesi. Having a solid conductor as Mark Elder was also a guarantee. So far so good. Elder introduced Janáček Schluck und Jau final and unfinished work from the podium.

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London Symphony Orchestra conducted by François-Xavier Roth interesting young Debussy

This programme by the London Symphony Orchestra was quite interesting, not only because it was the first time an early work by Debussy was played in the UK but also because it linked this young Debussy with other composers that influenced his early days. Everything served by two French men: François-Xavier Roth conducting and the young Edgar Moreau playing the cello. The concert started with Tannhäuser overture that is always a good way to start.

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London Symphony Orchestra and Rattle play Genesis suite and Bartók Concerto: good intentions and some good results

Very nice intentions from Simon Rattle programming this forgotten Genesis Suite. And it was intelligent pairing it with a easy and loved work as Bartók concerto for orchestra. A suite with music by Schoenberg, Shilkret, Tansman, Milhaud, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Toch and Stravinsky looks pretty amazing on the paper. However the suite has some very big problems. Not all the music is so inspired and actually, a lot of if was lost (anything but Shoenberg and Stravinsky) and only reconstructed by Patrick Russ, (and I’m quoting from a not so prominent text in the digital programme) two from still tentative manuscripts and three from severely condensed sketches with only one or two musical lines and only vague instrumentation indications.

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LSO with Alice Sara Ott and Pappano: Total Liszt

I took the picture from Tristram Kenton for the Guardian to illustrate this review because it describes perfectly how the first part of the concert was. Alice Sata Ott is a young modern super star, trendy on fashion and social media. But instead of coming here to do her thing as a star she focused on making music and making it together with a joyful London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Antonio Pappano.

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LSO with Veronika Eberle and Bernard Haitink play: Adès, Mendelssohn and Brahms

I had this concert in my mind as “2nd Haitink gig”, “the other cool Brahms symphony I have not heard live this year yet” and “another fancy violinist doing Mendelssohn”. I hadn’t, however, though at all about the Thomas Adès that was opening the concert: Three Studies from Couperin. And it ended up being the most interesting part of the concert. The work is beautiful and perfectly showcased every good aspect about the London Symphony Orchestra.

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London Symphony Orchestra with Emanuel Ax and Bearnard Haitink: Brahms 3rd and Beethoven Emperor

Another great music night with the London Symphony Orchestra. The programme was very classic and the only novelty was doing the symphony in the first part and the concerto in the second one. The Brahms was what we expected: control and crystal-clear exposition. The whole was over the parts and every single modulation had a clear path in the whole picture of this 3rd symphony performance. No crazy rubato neither HIP-influenced dynamics.

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LSO with Rattle: The Damnation of Faust

After missing the only-English season opening of the London Symphony Orchestra this was to me the real season opening. This was the courageous programme: a work that has been part of the orchestra glorious tradition and one of its peaks with Colin Davis recording. Two changes from the announced cast: One month ago Florian Boesch was replaced by Gábor Bretz as Brander. Not a big deal as it the shortest role One week ago Gerald Finley was replaced by Christopher Purves.

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Prom 46: Gurrelieder

It took me longer than expected to write the review about last Saturday performance of Gurrelieder by London Symphony Orchestra conducted by its new principal conductor Simon Rattle. I had to think about it. Not only the performance but also the work, its meaning and its implications. Let’s go first with the actual performance of it. The orchestra playing was brutally brilliant: technical perfection and supreme discipline following Mr. Rattle indications.

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LSO recordings visualization

I was playing yesterday with some information from London orchestras and drawing this kind of graphs for fun: Then I came across the London Symphony Orchestra recordings data compiled by Philip Stuart and it is so nice and so well structured that only took me a while to convert it on something machine parseable. The stats that you can gather from there are amazing. I did a couple of graphs and animations and today I did this nice interactive visualization of all the recordings the orchestra has made.

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Skate Art Guy

A guy who loves skate and arts