Beethoven box set covers

Beethoven box set covers

CD Reviews

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C, Bartók: Divertimento for String Orchestra

‘The variety and subtlety of the textures make demands not only on performers but on the recording process, and all is well managed here. Simovic sets the Serenade off in stately, ceremonial style, drawing great warmth and depth of tone from the orchestra…’ 

 Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Symphony No 10

'This music comes even closer to the shadow of death than did Gustav Mahler’s work on his tenth symphony…This is definitely a recording that deserves listening.’ 

Mendelssohn: Symphony No 3 'Scottish', Overture: The Hebrides, Schumann: Piano Concerto

Editor's Choice ‘Gardiner brilliantly delineates orchestral textures and proves a perfect collaborative partner for Pires.

‘In terms of sound, the balance is realistic on both, with much clarity and a battling edge to Mendelssohn’s dramatic tutti. Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Hebrides Overture must be one of the most thrilling ever recorded, adding volleys of sea-spray to well-navigated execution… The performance’s (Schumann Piano Concerto) highlight comes towards the close of the sprightly finale…That passage alone marks this out as a truly memorable performance. Incidentally, the Blu-ray disc includes, in addition to fine sound, crystal-clear video footage of the same concert performance.’

BBC Music Magazine

Performance *** (Mendelssohn) ***** (Schumann) Recording *****

‘Playing and balance throughout are exemplary... A special laurel wreath should be placed on the brow of guest principal oboist Celine Moinet, whose phrasing of the tune at the start of the concerto is magical… She (Pires) has the enviable ability to make everything sound fresh but natural, and her tone is enchanting… The definition on this (blu-ray) is superb and the camera work actually helps the viewer understand the music.’

‘The acoustic was captured in a rather intimate way, matching the comparatively small orchestra with only 12 first violins. In this vein, a wonderful transparency is created, reflecting the spirit of the piece with its permanent interactions between soloist and orchestra particularly well.’ 

‘Pires plays the Schumann concerto captivatingly beautifully and with a strong sense for dynamism and virtuosity. Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra accompany committedly and listen carefully.’ 

BBC Radio 3 Building a Library with Andrew McGregor and Stephen Johnson 8th December 2014 
Gardiner makes sure that we hear all sorts of lovely little details in the orchestra but not to the extent that you feel he’s trying to elbow the soloist out of the way, and she’s a lovely soloist in this performance… Beautiful piano playing, beautiful orchestral playing, beautiful intimate almost chamber-like connection between the two. And again, a lovely reminder that this concerto is full of the kind of orchestration that Schumann’s critics say he couldn’t write. It’s wonderful…’ When asked to choose his preferred Scottish Symphony performance Stephen Johnson chooses Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s recording. ‘It’s such an exciting and thrilling and revealing performance.’

The Herald Scotland
‘If I had to pick my record of the year, there would be a queue. Leading that queue, and ticking every box, is the stunning, revelatory new recording of Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony and Hebrides Overture, with, to my taste, one of the finest performances of Schumann's Piano Concerto that I have ever heard. The whole thing is absolutely wonderful, and an education.’ 

The Arts Desk
‘It's an unalloyed delight to come across this exhilarating live account of the Symphony no 3. We also get a nippy account of The Hebrides overture, and a graceful performance of Schumann's Piano Concerto from Maria João Pires… a wise, intelligent performance. Praise too for LSO Live's engineers – this is among the best-sounding recordings from this source.’ 

Classic FM Drive Featured Album

Classic FM
‘As you might expect, Sir John brings his love of authentic performance into his approach - the LSO strings sound bright and breezy as they evoke Mendelssohn's Scotland in both the Scottish Symphony and his Hebrides Overture. Also featured on this release is Maria João Pires joining the LSO to play the Piano Concerto by Schumann - the inaugural concerto recording on the LSO Live label. The brilliant Portuguese pianist is on sparkling form, ranging from the intimate to the dazzlingly virtuosic.’ 

‘In Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony, John Eliot Gardiner proves himself a sensitive conductor, the musicians of London Symphony Orchestra prove their instrumental superior ease especially in the tricky passages. Energy also dominates their interpretation of the “Hebrides Ouverture” – the contrasts of this work makes the listener sense the dynamics of the churning sea.

Performance ***** Sonics ****½  ‘The sound quality on these discs is amongst the best that I have heard from LSO Live. The piano is very well balanced with the orchestra and the shortcomings of the Barbican acoustic are minimal. Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that the booklet artwork is the most attractive I have seen on an LSO Live disc. It is to be hoped that future issues in this cycle equal the standard set by this one. Highly recommended.’#

Audiophile Audition
‘A wonderful package, with Blu-ray audio, video, SACD, each in surround sound and stereo. The playing is the absolute tops, crisp, clear, with lots of depth and richness of bass… I look forward to more from these forces, and especially—in this magnificent format.’ 

‘Together, Gardiner and the orchestra give a sensitive and tingly performance of the Mendelssohn. Just a dream recording.’ 

Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, Overture: Waverly

****½ Performance **** Sonics

‘In a new departure for LSO Live the 2-disc package contains both a hybrid SACD with 5.1 multi-channel and 2.0 stereo mixes and also a Pure Audio Blu-ray disc. The latter also includes what is modestly described on the CD case as 'video footage', but is in fact an excellently filmed complete Barbican performance of the Symphonie fantastique in high definition video. This is well worth watching if only to marvel at how the tooth pick wielding maestro gets such compelling results from his orchestra.’

Classic FM
Superb new recording… the climax of tonight’s concert of recent releases.’ The Full Works Concert radio programme, 18th November.

Audiophile Audition
“The lossless DTS Master Audio tracks are really superb. The music emerges from a noiseless background. The strings sound realistic, and the orchestral image is well rendered in the front speakers. The deep bass is solid for the fourth and fifth movements, never blurring and the dense orchestration never becomes sonically diffuse. It’s a demonstration quality recording with the wide dynamic range high resolution audio that are so well reproduced.” 

AV Magazine
“But if you really want to hear the best of this page revolutionary, whatever digital format preferred by you, nothing like the imminent release of the Fantastic Symphony, conducted by Valery Gergiev with the London Symphony Orchestra. in a box with an extraordinary hybrid SACD (SACD and CD stereo 5.1) and Blu-ray disc with only audio track in DTS MA 5.1 track 24/192 and 24/192 HD video with stereo sound, all in a box that cost should be less than 15 Euro. We can confirm that the Fantastic is a page that all music lovers should listen live, maybe sitting in the "seats of the choir," behind the orchestra, just a few steps away from the brass and percussion”.

Classical CD Choice
‘The opening movement ‘Rêveries – Passions’ is uncharacteristically relaxed and poetic with beautifully nuanced playing especially from the strings. Gergiev’s seating of the orchestra with antiphonal violins is an excellent plus point as is his inclusion of the exposition repeat – something not always found on recordings from the past…This issue represents a considerable bargain for those sympathetic to Gergiev’s persuasive Berlioz and I look forward to its future continuation.’ 

Pizzicato (Germany)
‘The playing of the opening of the first movement of Berlioz Symphonie fantastique is warm and tender with dark contrasted colours…Gergiev employs the broadest of colour palates, subtle tempo changes, rubato and other creative means to gain maximum expressiveness from the music. The other movements produce a rich and expressive sound, not least because of the exceptional quality of the London Symphony’s soloists – especially the woodwinds….the Witches Sabbath is terrific…’ 

Brahms Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 

Audiophile Audition
‘When passion and logical forms collide he (Gergiev) inevitably rises to the occasion.’

***Performance ***Recording BBC Music Magazine

Classical CD Choice
‘Gergiev’s powerful performance of the Brahms 3rd Symphony is quite impressive with some notably fine wind and brass playing throughout from the LSO and his division of violins antiphonally helps to keep the textures of Brahms’s more densely scored passages clear.’ 

Haydn Symphonies 92 & 93, 97 – 99 

BBC Music Magazine (UK)
**** Performance **** Recording ‘This new selection, recorded live in the Barbican in 2010-11, deploys an equally large orchestral line-up and makes as few concessions to ‘period’ performance. The performance is notaby warmer and more personal, however; it glows with affection for this life-enhancing music.’

Classic FM (UK)
‘All of these symphonies' expressive strength and rigour, their invention and mastery of form, are laid bare in these revelatory performances which confirm for all time Sir Colin's reputation as a pre-eminent interpreter of Haydn's music. He doesn't hold back and relishes the warmth of Haydn's sound world.’ 

Classical Source 
‘The recorded sound is excellent, and final applause has been removed. This is a release to treasure for great music and magnificent readings of it (and one doesn't forget Sir Colin's previous Haydn Symphonies, like tulips, from Amsterdam) ... and the front cover is quite striking in a feel-good way. Believe me, a couple of hours spent in the company of “Papa” Haydn and with a conductor who tapped so perceptively and benevolently into this imaginative and indestructible music (and which is so adaptable to a devoted and without-dogma approach, as here) makes the World a better place.’ 

The Arts Desk (UK)
‘There's so much to admire. The Barbican's dryish acoustic really works in Haydn's favour – timpani are nicely in tune and the LSO solo winds excel. A delectable pair of CDs.’ 
‘This is a richly rewarding and highly enjoyable set. The playing of the LSO is consistently excellent and one gets the distinct impression that the players were enjoying themselves – as well they might. Sir Colin’s way with Haydn is cultivated and invariably satisfying. These are a fine reminder of the stylish musicality of Sir Coin Davis. Two hours listening to late Haydn symphonies under his perceptive guidance is time very well spent.’ 

Brahms German Requiem

Classical Music Sentinel (CAN)
“The LSO sound is immaculate and its players are up to satisfying every interpretive nuance the conductor requires of them. The chorus is solid and beautifully balanced and is especially pleasing in the fourth movement, Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen.” 

BBC Music Magazine
‘The dark, veiled strings at the opening (Brahms with a slight Russian Orthodox accent?) are very impressive. So too is the sense of the first movement rising and falling steadily like a great arch.’ 

The Buffalo News
'Gergiev’s epic, dark Russian approach presents the music’s glorious harmonies and rich jewel tones. He gives the piece space and the choruses pack amazing punch. The trumpets are sharp and bright and the pace of it has the kind of drama that makes you feel as if you are hearing an opera, no surprise considering Gergiev’s background.’ 

Sir Colin Davis Anthology 

Classical Source (UK)
Sir Colin Davis had a passion for music, and the ability to ‘do it’ at the highest level, with charm, fervour, and sometimes a temper; let’s think of this Anthology as a Celebration.” 

The Sunday Times (UK)
“And the invitation of this box set — 12 CDs, a DVD, a modest book of facts and pictures, one featuring Davis’s pet iguana — is impossible to ignore. We’re invited to remember his golden age as principal conductor, later president, of the London Symphony Orchestra in live recordings made at the Barbican in London between 1999 and 2009. As Davis guides his forces through Berlioz, Sibelius, Walton and other simpatico composers there’s no doubting his genius for letting the music live and breathe without ego or brute force.” 

Gramophone (UK)
“The highlights for Davis fans will probably be a first release for a 2009 recording of the Te Deum of his beloved Berlioz and a superbly remastered (including a stereo 2.0 SACD layer) reissue of the recording that, for LSO Live, started it all: the New World Symphony from 1999. This seems somehow fitting. When this new label took its first, tentative steps 14 years ago, could its founders have dreamed they were, arguably, founding a new world not just for the London Symphony Orchestra, but also for the entire classical recording industry?”

International Record Review (UK)
‘With a beautifully illustrated booklet, including a fascinating essay by David Cairns, and with texts and translations of all the vocal works as well as notes, the presentation of this set is impeccable.’

Stravinsky Oedipus Rex & Apollon Musagéte 

American Record Guide (US)
‘Gardiner is entirely convincing, and his Apollo goes to the top of my list.’

The New Zealand Herald (NZ)

**** “If Oedipus Rex reveals the spectacular side of the LSO, then the orchestra's strings show finesse in Apollon Musagete.” 

The New York Times (US)
“It makes sense that the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, a pioneer of the early music movement, and the impressive Monteverdi Choir, founded by Mr. Gardner in 1964, would have a special feeling for the old-world musical elements of “Oedipus Rex,” all of which come through on this gripping recording taken from live performances with the London Symphony Orchestra last year.”

International Record Review (UK)
“With its unflagging direction, its strong sense of drama and its mostly impeccable singing, Gardiner is a serious contender for anyone wanting a version to put alongside the classic versions.” (UK)
Gardiner captures to the full the searing drama underlying the work's stylized exterior, and from the thrilling attack of the opening chorus the listener is gripped by the power of his interpretation of this masterpiece. The LSO are in magnificent form – their incisive brass, skeltering woodwind and weighty percussion thrillingly captured by the recording." 

The Whole Note (US)"So just how does the founder of the Monteverdi Choir deal with Stravinsky? In a word, admirably! Here, the listener immediately senses what great care Gardiner has taken with this performance, with no detail left untouched. The LSO strings are warmly resonant with the ensemble achieving a fine of sense of balance in the ten contrasting movements.” 

Classical CD Choice (UK)
“A truly incisive and sinewy performance that secures and locates all the austere beauty of the work.”

Yorkshire Post Music Critic (UK)
“Factor in tight, crisp playing by the LSO, the fine Jocasta of Jennifer Johnston and subtle string colouring in Apollon Musagète, and it adds up to a fine celebration.” 

Opera News (US) 
‘John Eliot Gardiner's version is something different, a trim, brisk flight that even on occasion (as in the solo "Non reperias") flirts with playfulness.’ Opera News 

Bruckner Symphony No 9

The Sunday Times (UK)
Album of the Week ‘Haitink, as ever, maintains a magisterial grasp on the architectural span of Bruckner’s final “cathedral in sound”. In his 85th year, he is the doyen of the world’s great Brucknerians. His latest interpretation of the Ninth is not to be missed.’ 

BBC Music Magazine (UK)
***** Performance ***** Recording ‘…this performance from last year with the London Symphony Orchestra on stupendous form seems to mark a pitch of understanding and communication which it wouldn’t be possible to surpass.’ 

Gramophone (UK)
Editor's Choice Editor’s Quote: ‘Great music-making,’ concludes David Gutman, and so it is: a deeply considered, powerful presentation of (the three movements of) Bruckner’s final thoughts.

Audiophile Audition (UK) 
Multi-channel disc of the month. "A ‘reference’ recording and performance of Bruckner’s unfinished 9th" 

Audiophilia (Canada)
'So, what does the live LSO and the fantastic Bernard Haitink bring to one of our favourite works? Lots. Lots of inner counterpoint not always heard, lovely solos, fantastic ensemble, appropriate brass tone and the voicing of the massive chords that only a lifetime of Bruckner dedication can bring ... Highly recommended.' 
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Gramophone (UK)
‘You won’t quickly forget those stern, unyielding climaxes underpinned by black, cadaverous timps. Is this great music-making? The player in the lift thought so and so do I.’ 

Britten The Turn of the Screw

Opera News (UK)
‘There has been such an outpouring of Britten recordings during the centennial year that no one could keep up with everything, but when the dust settles it would be unsurprising if this one turned out to be one of the highlights.’ 
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Voix des Arts (US)
'Richard Farnes proves an enlightened interpreter of Britten’s music by making the deliberate choice to perform this opera like any other and inspiring the London Symphony Orchestra players and singers to do likewise.  Vocally, there is no other Peter Quint quite like Andrew Kennedy, musically or dramatically, and the lyrical effusiveness of his performance prompts an unmistakable unanimity of conviction that elevates a great performance to the sort of theatrical experience that redefines a listener’s perceptions of the music at hand.  A more resplendent memorial to Benjamin Britten on the occasion of his centennial and to the legacy of Sir Colin Davis is impossible to imagine.'

Classical Music (UK)
***** ‘Filling in for concerts to have been conducted by the late Colin Davis, Farnes directs a taut, crisply-detailed account of Britten’s masterpiece. His cast is perfect: Kennedy a slyly seductive Quint; Matthews spot on in conveying the Governess’s growing horror and resolve; as telling a Flora and Miles as any on disc. Excellent Barbican sound.’

Classical CD Review (UK)
‘Richard Farnes, the current Music Director of Opera North, directs a detailed and well-paced performance in which the collective and individual playing of his chamber orchestra made up of 17 members of the LSO could hardly be bettered … The two-disc set includes informative and thought-provoking notes on the work by Gavin Plumley as well as the full libretto. Listeners (and viewers) are almost spoilt for choice with the many very fine recordings of this opera currently available (eleven at a last count, including that conducted by the composer), but this new one definitely deserves inclusion amongst the best of them.’ (UK)
****½This new recording, a first on SACD, is strongly cast. From the beautifully sung opening Prologue it is apparent that Andrew Kennedy is an excellent choice for the work's only male role – that of the ghost of the evil Peter Quint. He sings throughout with much beauty of tone yet still conveys Quint's insidious malevolence without resort to any caricature. Sally Mathews, as the inexperienced governess to the children Miles and Flora, gives a searing portrayal of this complex character – her anxiety in the opening scene gradually giving way to horror at the realisation of the children's corruption by evil forces … Richard Farnes, the current Music Director of Opera North, directs a detailed and well-paced performance in which the collective and individual playing of his chamber orchestra made up of 17 members of the LSO could hardly be bettered.’
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Turnage Speranza and From the Wreckage

Music Web International (UK)
‘Håkan Hardenberger is magisterial as the flugelhorn, trumpet and piccolo trumpet soloist in this richly expressive and phantasmagorical piece.’

Q2 Music Album of the Week 'Speranza, a symphonic meditation on hope and hopelessness, is the main course on this disc, is far more deeply earnest—even prayerful, as lyrical, folk-inspired materials struggle against forces of despair and self-destruction, and the old-fashioned craft Turnage brings to his materials suggests a connection to the sacred. The London Symphony, under Harding, rises to the piece's roaring climaxes, but the disc resolves gently, on a hopeful note—muted and ambivalent, but hopeful.' 
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Listen (US)
‘Mark-Anthony Turnage’s From the Wreckage is a twenty-first-century Gershwin trumpet concerto … Dedicatee Hakan Hardenberger plays the flugelhorn and standard and piccolo trumpets in a cool and jazzy manner. After just sixteen saucy minutes, it’s over, leaving a jaunty sense of satisfaction.’

Sinfini Music (UK)
**** ‘The glittering virtuosity of his [Hardenberger’s] playing says everything about the composer’s expertise in writing it, and conjures a musical idiom resembling a strange blend of Mahler and Miles Davis … In both works Daniel Harding’s conducting secures a fine response from the UK’s classiest and feistiest symphony orchestra, whose players latch onto the music’s menacing surges of sound with their trademark firepower.’ 
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The Classical Reviewer (UK)
‘The performance is superb with Håkan Hardenberger showing such freedom, virtuosity and sheer musicality … This [Speranza] is an immensely impressive work that I would not like to be without. Guy Dammann, in his excellent booklet note, refers to Speranza being Turnage’s most ambitious and symphonic composition for orchestra to date. I believe it to be one of his finest.’ 
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International Record Review (UK)
‘The sound is arguably the finest to have come from LSO Live in recent years, having a lustre and depth that highlight both Turnage’s orchestration and the LSO’s realization of it to best advantage.’ 

Buffalo News (US)
'“Speranza,” meaning hope, is a musical paradox that began as a meditation on suicide and turned into what is possibly 53-year-old Mark-Anthony Turnage’s most substantial work for orchestra thus far, a dissonant, ecstatic 40-minute work employing Palestinian anthems, Israeli children’s song, a Jewish folk song and music featuring the Armenian woodwind instrument the duduk.'
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Auditorium (US)
‘A fine mix of consonant and challenging contemporary’classical music which raises high hopes about Turnage…’

The Independent (UK)
**** ‘Turnage’s orchestration is what colours this landscape. In Dochas he uses the oboe-like duduk, while the sombre, one-movement concerto moves to the light via the flugelhorn, trumpet and piccolo trumpet, insistent percussion representing both the heartbeat and the nervous jump.’
Read full review (UK)
This searching account by Daniel Harding and the LSO of what is surely one of Turnage's finest works to date does the composer proud.’ 
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The Classical Reviewer (UK)
'This is an immensely impressive work that I would not like to be without. Guy Dammann, in his excellent booklet note, refers to Speranza being Turnage's most ambitious and symphonic composition for orchestra to date. I believe it to be one of his finest. Daniel Harding and the marvellous London Symphony Orchestra give an impressively sensitive performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage's fine orchestral work. The recording is first rate.'
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Brahms Symphonies 1 & 2, Tragic Overture & Variations on a Theme of Haydn

BBC Music Magazine (UK)
**** Performance **** Recording ‘This Brahms double album enshrines performances that Valery Gergiev gave with the LSO at the Barbican in the latter months of 2012, and they richly deserved preservation. Gergiev produces a gripping, architecturally secure account of the First Symphony … Gergiev’s account of the Second … is refined and sensitive.’

Audiophilia (Canada)
'These performances are beautifully prepared. Buy with confidence. It’s straight ahead, brilliant Brahms.'
Read full review (US)
‘This is very strongly recommended.’ 
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Szymanowski Symphonies 3 & 4, Stabat Mater

Limelight (Australia)
**** ‘Along with the First Violin Concerto, it [3rd Symphony] represents the peak of the composer’s middle period, when he was heavily influenced by Debussy and Scriabin. Gergiev and the LSO revel in the rich tapestry of sound, while Toby Spence is impressively ecstatic in his high solo lines. Pierre Boulez may have coolly revealed every strand of Szymanowski’s orchestral texture, but Gergiev seems more in touch with the composer’s exotic world.’ 
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Classical Ear (UK)
**** ‘These live recordings with the LSO are lush and rich performances that capture many of the exotic colours in the music … Recommended.

International Record Review (UK)
‘The soloists leave little to be desired: Sally Matthews (her voice having latterly taken on an almost mezzo-like richness) and Ekaterina Gubanova combine most eloquently in their various duet passages, while Kostas Smoriginas exudes passion without undue histrionics. Gergiev directs with thoughtful attentiveness, and though the pauses between its six movements might have been minimized even further, the radiant transcendence of the fourth and final sections is never in doubt. It helps that the contribution of the London Symphony Chorus, audibly revitalized under Simon Halsey, galvanises this account to an extent seldom encountered outside of Polish readings, so ensuring the fusion of Renaissance and folk-inflected harmonies is not merely distinctive but blazes a trail right through to the present.'

Music Web International (UK)
‘Gergiev’s orchestra and chorus are both splendid, as is Toby Spence as the tenor soloist …Matsuev excels in this music and his piano tone is crystal clear. The London Symphony play their part equally well with much orchestral detail coming through winningly.’ 
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BBC Music Magazine (UK)
'a hothouse performance of Symphony No. 3, where the tenor Toby Spence, the London Symphony Chorus and lush-sounding LSO all combine to capture the orientalist tone.'

Audiophile Audition (US)
'LSO offers another in its stellar series of works by this essential composer … If you already have the equally impressive recording of the first two symphonies with Gergiev and London (also on LSO Live) this one is an essential addition.'
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Sinfini Music
'Valery Gergiev leads the LSO and luxury-cast soloists in this irresistible album featuring Szymanowski's heady, perfumed Third Symphony and Stabat Mater'
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Classical CD Choice (UK)
‘Gergiev handles his forces with an expert hand and the work’s huge climaxes are unflinchingly delivered by the recording…Toby Spence impresses with his ardent delivery of the taxing tenor part and the well-drilled LSO chorus sing with admirable commitment … The Russian virtuoso Denis Matsuev gives a typically athletic and powerful performance of the solo part while Gergiev and the LSO accompany with precision and panache … this disc is a timely reminder of Szymanowski’s position as one of the most individual composers of the 20th century and only increases one’s admiration for his unique style and sophisticated tonal palate.’
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Szymanowksi Symphonies 1 & 2

Listen (US)
‘the LSO’s performances brim with virtuosic energy.’ 

Music Web International
‘The Second Symphony with its unusual opening for solo violin is much recorded and this performance … is so well played that even the curiously archaic variations sound good. Certainly these forces provide much of the sensuality and ecstatic lyricism that commentators have heard in Szymanowski's works.’
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The Arts Desk (UK)
‘Valery Gergiev’s LSO sound is technically brilliant’
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BBC Radio 3 CD Review
‘… Valery Gergiev, making them [the LSO] sound as passionate as he obviously is himself about Szymanowski’s music. There’s some wonderfully committed vital, colourful playing here, and the Barbican recording lets it all through to us.’
‘Gergiev gives a passionate account of this [second] symphony thanks both to some breathtakingly beautiful solos from individual members of the LSO in the work's slower sections and typically incisive playing in the more lively ones as demonstrated, for example, by the crisp articulation of the 2nd symphony's final fugue.’
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The Panufnik Legacies

International Record Review (UK)
‘All of the pieces benefit from the commitment and alacrity of the LSO’s response, reinforced by Francois-Xavier Roth’s no less dedicated conducting.’ 

BBC Music Magazine (UK)
‘The shard-like string writing in Christian Mason’s …from bursting suns escaping… and Eloise Nancie Gynn’s ethereal, glowering Sakura impress.’

The Daily Telegraph, 29 June 2013
'There are 11 firecrackers on this disc, written by 10 composers who have been nurtured by the LSO's Panufnik Young Composers Scheme.'
The Classical Reviewer

‘There is not a work on this disc that I would not wish to hear again. Some of the composers I will certainly be looking out for again. François-Xavier Roth and the LSO do these young composers proud on this well recorded CD that is a tribute to both the composers featured and the Panufnik Young Composers Scheme.'
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Berlioz Grande Messe des morts (Requiem), Op 5

Limelight (Australia)
‘A magnificent valediction from the master Berlioz conductor … This utterly imposing performance of Berlioz’s grandest work was one of the last great triumphs of Sir Colin Davis’s long and illustrious career. That career, which spanned nearly sixty years, covered an astonishing breadth of repertory but he will be particularly remembered for his championing of Tippett, Sibelius and, of course, Berlioz …Here is a recording to treasure which takes its place alongside Sir Colin’s 1969 recording and Paul McCreesh’s recent version as the very best in the catalogue.’ 
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Gramophone, June 2013
There's some lovley orchestral detail: woodwind semiquavers illustrating 'lux perpetua'; stabbing, syncopated chords from the upper strings in the 'Lacrymosa'.

Fauré Requiem, Bach Partitas, Chorales & Ciaconna

The Scotsman (UK)
***** 'Now what do Fauré’s Requiem, the Bach Partita that ends with the famous “Ciaconna”, and the particular batch of Bach chorales featured on this recording have in common? They’re all in D minor, which gives this entire curiosity package a unity that is compelling. But there’s something much deeper at work, which the combined forces of vocal ensemble Tenebrae, the LSO Chamber Ensemble and LSO leader Gordan Nikolitch unfold to stunning effect. Nikolitch’s tasteful playing of the solo Partita movements is interspersed with sung chorales, those features coming unexpectedly together in the Ciaconna, where Tenebrae 
add the funereal chorale themes on which the violin music is based. And if that isn’t moving in itself, the uninterrupted D minor link with the Requiem is simply mindblowing.'

The Sunday Times, Culture (UK)
‘This remarkable, moving disc makes ingenious juxtapositions both vertically and horizontally. Bach’s D minor Partita is preceded and interrupted by – and it’s vast ciaconna finale superimposed with – funerary Bach chorales linked in his mind (it is suggested) to the death of his first wife. The note-writer, Helga Thoene, believes all six Bach solo violin works form a cycle related through musical encryption to the church year. It is astonishing to hear the chaconne with the beautifully fitting chorale accompaniment Thoene has arranged. No sooner does it end than an organ chord takes us into Faure’s D minor Requiem, his touching chamber-orchestral version of 1893.’

The Irish Times
‘The Fauré, heard in the now popular orchestration of 1893, is atmospherically done and has real expressive traction.’ 

Classic FM's Albums of the Year 2012
‘Choral music doesn't get more magnificent than this. Tenebrae sound dynamic, tight and ooze atmosphere in their performance here, but it's the magical way the soloists and the LSO glide in and out of the sound that really impresses - and that's down to Nigel Short's direction.’
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International Record Review (UK)
'This performance, recorded live before an extremely well-behaved audience, is excellent. The choral singing from Tenebrae is exceptionally clear and pure in tone, but not at all bloodless as can be the case with choires aiming for just these qualities in this particular work.' 

BBC Radio 3 CD Review (UK)‘The performance of the Fauré Requiem is outstanding… Tenebrae is such an impressive vocal ensemble. They bring full blooded, passionate engagement with dots and the texts – and the soloists are fine as well.’

The Star Ledger (US)
‘Interspersing Bach’s Partita No. 2 with sacred choral selections proves a fresh and intriguing way to convey the talents of the London Symphony Orchestra and the choir Tenebrae … Violinist Gordon Nikolitch’s rich-toned playing unwinds in a way that calls to mind the sinuous lines and torment within a Baroque painting of a martyr. The Fauré Requiem is marked by gravity and luminous sound, from the first portentous suspended low tones that anchor gleaming voices in the Introit et Kyrie.’ 
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BBC Music Magazine
‘The playing of the London Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble and their leader Gordan Nikolitch and the singing of Tenebrae and the two soloists are all exemplary.’

Weber Der Freischütz

Classical Source, 24 June 2013
'...the sound Sir Colin creates – a light vibrato, edgy brass, characterful woodwinds – describes the style beautifully, with plenty of atmosphere, a stimulating attention to detail and a constant undertow of momentum.'
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NY Times, 24 June 2013
'The astonishing Wolf’s Glen scene, when Max enters a haunted realm of the forest, is Weber at his most ingenious and Davis’s performance captures the music’s ominous and magical allure.'
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Sunday Times Culture, 12 May 2013
The chorus, especially in the Wolf's Glen, enthralls, as does the orchestra, rising to every challenge, urgent or lyrical, heroic or poetic. Davis, as ever, balances unrushed tempi with moments of raw excitement and aural extravagance, of which there are many in this early Romantic opera.
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The Times, 10 May 2013
opera was always one of his specialities, and the love he felt toward Der Freischütz can be felt in almost every bar.
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Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos 1,2 & 3

The Guardian, 5 Sep 2012
... full of wonderful touches, of sharply etched detail, vivid colours and tremendous focused energy.
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Britten War Requiem

Presto Classical, 7 May 2012
Perhaps nowhere is this more true than the thunderous brass interjections at the start of the Dies Irae, which pack quite a punch and are fantastically apocalyptic in their power (for me, there’s nothing quite like the LSO brass section in full flow!) 
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Nielsen Symphonies Nos 1 & 6

Irish Times, 13 Apr 2012
Colin Davis’s strongly-delivered approach is to draw Nielsen towards the mainstream, especially in the First Symphony, to find ways of tightening the logic, to regularise and tidy the manners of a composer who likes going off on strange tangents.
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Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances & Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements

International Record Review, Apr 2012
If the unusual coupling appeals, there is much to enjoy here, not least an orchestra that is at the very top of its game under its charismatic conductor. 

Mahler Symphony No 5

Fanfare Magazine, 13 Jul 2011
I find Gergiev’s approach to be somewhat perplexing, but there is no denying his commitment to Mahler, and the LSO is with him all the way. 
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La Scene Musicale, 18 Sep 2011
The LSO Live Mahler cycle leaves more questions than it answers, which is just as the composer intended.
CD of the Week
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Haydn Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons)

The Scotsman, 7 Jun 2011
For the unmistakable mark of Sir Colin Davis alone, and a performance under his direction of Haydn's extensive oratorio The Seasons that oozes operatic exuberance and nature-fed optimism at its broadest level, this latest LSO Live disc is genuinely attractive.
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Yorkshire Post, 11 Jul 2011
Soloists Miah Persson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams bring the changing seasons to vivid life and the LSO plays with typical grace and superb colour from the woodwinds.
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Debussy La mer, Jeux, Prélude à l'aprés-midi d'un faune

Audiophile Audition, 24 Jun 2011
hearing this superb Gergiev performance in state of the art hi-res surround takes the La mer experience to an entirely new level. One almost wants to dry off afterwards...
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The Scotsman, 12 Apr 2011
Gergiev fills them with all manner of silken touches, succulently realised by the LSO's many fine solo contributions.
Read full review, 8 Apr 2011
A ‘magic flute’ (courtesy of Gareth Davies) opens Faune and this Debussy collection, the playing from the LSO tender and suggestive, the harp rippling magically, the music made hypnotic in its fluctuations and even a touch surreal, Valery Gergiev avoiding stasis and keeping the music potent. Great! And beautifully recorded, too.
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Walton Belshazzar's Feast and Symphony No 1

Audiophile Audition, 7 Mar 2011
Two brass bands add their swagger to the thrilling performance; it’s too bad the LSO engineers didn’t spread them out on the surround channels as done with some of the SACDs of the Berlioz Requiem brass choirs.
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Nielsen Symphonies Nos 4&5

The Boston Globe, 13 Feb 2011
The LSO strings exude a burnished warmth in the slow movement and the ensemble as a whole dispatches the work’s finale, with its famous two-timpani blitz, as the gripping drama that it is.
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Islington Gazette, 18 Jan 2011
Both performances have the white hot intensity and total understanding of the music that is the signal characteristic of Davis in this glorious Indian summer of his career.
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Ravel Daphnis et Chloé, Pavane pour une infante défunte, Boléro

Audiophile Audition, 19 Jan 2011
Gergiev certainly adds to his laurels with fantastic conducting job here - bringing out the color and dynamics while highlighting every small detail.
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The Scotsman, 23 Nov 2010
The main work – the ravishing ballet Daphnis et Chloé – gets the full wistful treatment from conductor Valery Gergiev, who allows every golden moment to emerge with delicious piquancy and crystalline clarity.
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Verdi Otello

New Zealand Herald, 27 Nov 2010
The release itself, on LSO Live, cements just how valuable the London Symphony Orchestra's own label has become in its 10 years of existence.
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Financial Times, 16 Oct 2010
Davis inspires the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to a performance of vigour and refinement, and it’s for their contribution – and Gerald Finley’s suave, stylish Iago – that this recording stands out
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The Observer, 14 Nov 2010
... this is a spellbinding account, thanks to O'Neill, Anne Schwanewilms's Desdemona and Gerald Finley's Jago, but above all to Colin Davis's warm, urgent but never forced interpretation.
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Mahler Symphony No 4

Daily Telegraph, 7 Apr 2010
Gergiev’s febrile intensity lends itself well to the neurotic quality of Mahler’s music ... the orchestra is superb.
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Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie

The Sunday Times, 24 Jan 2010
Haitink’s account is slightly compromised by a too fragile oboe solo in the central summit section, and an unconvincing organ sound near the close, but it has immense grandeur
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International Record Review, Feb 2010
[the LSO] members responded with a candour that is refreshing and otherwise offering devotion to Haitink's focused and sane direction, the strings sweetly expressive when required without becoming mawkish or sentimental.

Irish Times, 5 Feb 2010
Bernard Haitink is a well-prepared mountaineer. He doesn’t lose his grip or his head, and he keeps the whole in a judicious perspective that makes some of the bigger moments all the more impressive for not having their thunder stolen.
Read full article, 28 Feb 2010
There's no denying the magnificent playing of the London Symphony Orchestra, whose quality is certainly held up to close scrutiny by the very detailed recorded sound. The solo playing is outstanding, in particular – the brilliantly characterised bassoon solo that introduces the 'Gefahrvolle Augenblicke', for example, or an awestruck but unhammy oboe at the summit, and rarely have I heard the intricate details of the waterfall come across so clearly.
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The Daily Telegraph, 24 Mar 2010
[Haitink] penetrates to the core of the musical substance ... The orchestra rises magnificently to the challenge of this climax.
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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet

Audiophile Audition, 27 Dec 2009
The live recording is sensational in its realism, and the note booklet is highly detailed in several languages.
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The Buffalo News, 10 Jan 2010
Familiar mostly from its suites, it isn’t all that often performed in its two-hour, 20-minute totality and even less-often performed that way by a truly major orchestra with a great and completely idiomatically attuned conductor. All of that is what happens here, which makes this an uncommonly welcome disc.
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The Times, 11 Jan 2010
... the death of Tybalt has rarely sounded more coruscating in its raw depiction of Lady Capulet’s grief. Juliet’s early music positively scampers with youthful delicacy and grace, and the love music shimmers with a rapt beauty.
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The Irish Times, 15 Jan 2010
The ever- adventurous Valery Gergiev offered the full original ballet in London in November 2008, substituting a nice, springy energy in places where other conductors focus on sonic spectacle, and always finding the lyricism in this most lyrical of mid-20th-century works
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Financial Times, 16 Jan 2010
its main claim to attention is the polish of the London Symphony Orchestra’s playing, and the idiomatic flair and sweeping conviction that Gergiev brings to one of Prokofiev’s most lyrically inspired scores.
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The Daily Telegraph, 20 Jan 2010
... in the hands of Gergiev and the LSO there is always a moment of delight around the corner. Wonderful for dipping into.
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Bangkok Post, 29 Jan 2010
If you know the story of Romeo and Juliet, you will have no trouble following the entire plot through the music alone, without any dancing, and you will be deeply moved ... strongly recommended.
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The Australian, 13 Feb 2010
Rarely does a new recording supersede all before it, but that is the case with the London Symphony Orchestra's new performance of Prokofiev's ballet score, Romeo and Juliet ... This is an indispensable release.
Read full article, 20 Feb 2010
With such luxury casting, the results are predictably thrilling. Gergiev directs with a theatrical swagger and the more aggressive, brassy numbers have a shattering, visceral impact. The weight of the LSO string sound lends unbearable poignancy to the closing pages, and Gergiev finds space for humour too - listen out for the mandolins.
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Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967)
Variations on a Hungarian Folksong, (‘The Peacock’) (1938–39)
This substantial orchestral work, one of Kodály’s finest, was commissioned in 1939 by the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam,
under its then conductor Willem Mengelberg, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The year was not an auspicious one, particularly for those living in Central Europe. The early years of the 20th-century had not been kind to Hungary, formerly part of the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire. Having lost vast swathes of her lands and population in the post-World War I carve-up, Hungary in the 1930s was ruled by the autocratic Admiral Miklós Horthy, who ended up taking his truncated country into World War II on the side of the Axis powers. The folksong on which Kodály based his set of variations, ‘The Peacock’, comes from the Mari people of the Somogy district. The song tells of a peacock – the symbol of liberty – which flies to the Town Hall prison 
to promise freedom to its wretched inmates – ‘new things that will come after new struggles’. Not surprisingly, its underlying message was perceived as subversive by the right-wing authorities at the time, but resonated strongly with ordinary Hungarians. Kodály presents the tune (Moderato) first unadorned on the oboe, then in a more decorative version, before embarking on a series of 16 dazzlingly orchestrated variations in a variety of contrasting moods and tempos, by turns reflective, menacing, ethereal and skittish, the last of 
which proudly states the theme in a sonorous, full-blown version. Then comes a scherzo-like Finale, which offers yet another variant 
of the Peacock tune.

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique 

Classic FM (UK)
“It’s hard to imagine a better live performance of this classical masterpiece.”


The Best Recording (Building a Library) ‘Berlioz’s greatest interpreter of modern times recorded the Symphonie fantastique three times, but this most recent version is the most gripping and satisfying, deftly treading a fine line between self-revelation and self-indulgence. The volcanic outpourings of feeling are as intense as they should be, yet in the quieter moments – especially in the central ‘Scene in the Country’ – Davis achieves a wonderfully expressive pianissimo, in which every detail seems to convey meaning, all caught splendidly by the live recording.’ BBC Music Magazine (UK)

Walton Symphony No 1


‘‘No one has exposed its troubled heart with greater care than Sir Colin’ I wrote.

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