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Photo: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Edward Gardner, Seong-Jin Cho and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

LPO, Edward Gardner & Seong-Jin Cho at the Royal Festival Hall – Wagner, Beethoven, Tippett

Edward Gardner fashioned a clear-sighted account of the Tippett, controlling the first movement’s gnarly energy and gentle sonorities with ease and allowed a natural unfolding of the music’s tension and release. If its contrapuntal busyness seems overheated at times with string lines of needless complexity, the LPO made light of its melodic angularities and chugging […]

LPO, Edward Gardner & Seong-Jin Cho at the Royal Festival Hall – Wagner, Beethoven, Tippett Read More »

Karina Canellakis. Photo: Mathias Bothor

Beethoven & Shostakovich from the London Philharmonic Orchestra 

This was one of those concerts that showcased the versatility of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in historically aware performance and contemporary practice. Perhaps it is a trifle extravagant to deploy period trumpets and timpani for the five minutes it takes to zip through the Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, but from the first explosive

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Principal Conductor Edward Gardner, violinist Johan Dalene and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo Credit: London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Philharmonic/Edward Gardner with Johan Dalene

Mendelssohn can seem so familiar until you hear a work like the Hebrides Overture for the umpteenth time coming up as fresh and wind-blown as the day the composer sailed over to the island of Staffa, with its extraordinary watery cathedral nave. You wonder whether Debussy, in ‘Voiles’ (piano Préludes) or La mer, appreciated Mendelssohn’s elemental evocation

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London Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Conductor Edward Gardner, Mezzo-Soprano Beth Taylor, Soprano Sally Matthews

London Philharmonic – Edward Gardner conducts Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony

The Southbank poster blurb for the London Philharmonic’s 2023-24 season-opener sold Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony as “a journey to the end of the world”, a description which, however enticingly apocalyptic, it isn’t. The clue of enduring faith and hope is in the title, a point not remotely lost on Edward Gardner. It was, though, a near

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Photo: oae.co.uk

Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida – Sophie Bevan, Benjamin Hulett, Simon Butteriss & Catherine Wyn-Rogers; OAE conducted by John Wilson

Gilbert & Sullivan fans generally regard Princess Ida (1884) as one of the duo’s finest achievements, a sequence within its inspired score in particular earning it the plaudit ‘a string of pearls’ from one commentator. In this musically fine, but truncated, performance it’s essentially the pearls we get without the string, as the dialogue is reduced to

Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida – Sophie Bevan, Benjamin Hulett, Simon Butteriss & Catherine Wyn-Rogers; OAE conducted by John Wilson Read More »

Photo: curtisbrown.co.uk

Conor Mitchell’s Abomination: a DUP opera – with Rebecca Caine & Tony Flynn; directed by Conor Mitchell; conducted by Tom Deering

This London premiere run of Conor Mitchell’s Abomination – ‘fusing opera with drag, cabaret and political satire’ in the Southbank Centre’s accurate description – coincides mordantly with Charles III’s Coronation festivities. This ‘verbatim opera’ is a collage of judgemental statements about homosexuality made by politicians (usually within a half-baked discourse of fundamentalist, evangelical Protestantism) of Northern Ireland’s

Conor Mitchell’s Abomination: a DUP opera – with Rebecca Caine & Tony Flynn; directed by Conor Mitchell; conducted by Tom Deering Read More »

LPO, Klaus M­äkelä and Julian Rachlin – Shostakovich, Larcher and Mahler

This LPO concert was titled ‘Music from the Shadows’, and Klaus M­äkelä steered the orchestra through big works written between 1910 and 2016, all of them tonal, melodic and traditionally symphonic. And there were plenty of shadows, ranging from colourless grey to deepest black, from haunting anxiety to rock-hard darkness. The programme note described Shostakovich’s

LPO, Klaus M­äkelä and Julian Rachlin – Shostakovich, Larcher and Mahler Read More »

Photo: Robert Piwko

Philharmonia Orchestra/Alexander Soddy, Bryn Terfel; Wagner & Bruckner

Oxford-born Alexander Soddy’s career has been predominantly in German opera houses – until last year he was music director of the Mannheim Nationaltheater (since 2016) – and he has a particular affinity with German repertoire, as he has proved recently at the Royal Opera House in Wagner and Strauss. This was his Philharmonia debut, replacing

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