Kissin and London Symphony Orchestra

Kissin and London Symphony Orchestra play Tchaikovsky

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Wednesday 18th December

Symphony Hall Birmingham

London Symphony Orchestra

Michael Tilson Thomas conductor

Evgeny Kissin piano

Rimsky-Korsakov Dubinushka 4’
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 32’
Prokofiev Symphony No 5 46’

Evgeny Kissin’s encore – Tchaikovsky – Waltz

The LSO have always brought out their best for guest conductors, but no one galvanises them quite like Tilson Thomas. The Arts Desk

Evgeny Kissin needs no introduction; the shock-headed prodigy has long since matured into a performer with unparalleled artistry and precision. Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra, meanwhile, rekindle an unforgettable partnership that stretches back over almost forty years.

This blend of virtuosity and understanding will be brought to a programme of music by some of the most renowned Russian composers; Tchaikovsky’s epic first concerto, Rimsky-Korsakov’s folk-inspired Dubinushka and Prokofiev’s ‘symphony of the greatness of the human spirit.’

World War II was still raging as Prokofiev composed his Symphony No 5 in a Soviet Union safe haven. This was a time of national elation, as the Soviet Union anticipated victory over Nazi Germany. As Prokofiev raised his baton to conduct the first performance of the symphony in January 1945, the audience could hear gunfire that celebrated the news that the army had crossed the River Vistula in its march into Germany.

Classic FM’s John Suchet says:

The legendary pianist Nicolai Rubinstein once declared to Tchaikovsky that his first piano concerto was ‘bad, trivial and vulgar’. Don’t let this put you off as Rubinstein was quick to change his mind.One of the first pieces of music to sell over a million recordings, it is edge-of-the-seat stuff, full of sweeping melodies and electrifying passages.



Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Rimsky-Korsakov’s festive miniature Dubinushka was a tasty hors d’oeuvre but the main musical course was Prokofiev’s great wartime fifth symphony. This was a magnificent performance, the opening movement almost Mahlerian in its evocation of a world emerging from silence into bustling life. The scherzo was zany, frantic and brilliantly played with Andrew Marriner’s clarinet absolutely captivating. Tilson Thomas, like just about every conductor except Dorati, took the adagio slower than Prokofiev’s metronome marking but, given his epic approach to the symphony, it was still very intense and moving. The finale – socialist realism meets the Marx Brothers – was uproarious.”


LSO: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Friday 16 December, 7:30pm

Symphony HallSymphony Hall logo

London Symphony Orchestra
The Monteverdi Choir
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conductor
Rebecca Evans soprano
Wilke te Brummelstroete mezzo-soprano
Michael Spyres tenor
Vuyani Mlinde bass-baritone

Beethoven Symphony No 1 26’
            Symphony No 9, Choral 67’

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra ignite the exhilarating drama of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, crowned with the luminous voices of The Monteverdi Choir for the concluding Ode to Joy. The towering majesty of Beethoven’s great masterpiece is cast alongside the composer’s first youthful adventure in symphonic form.

BBC Music magazine’s Editor, Oliver Condy, recommends tonight’s concert: “The LSO, one of the world’s most thrilling orchestras, knows its Beethoven, there’s no doubt. And you can be sure that Sir John Eliot Gardiner will bring his huge experience of authentic performance to this concert. Top-notch singers too. A real treat.”

 Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…     ” Undoubtedly he would have admired the crack playing of the London Symphony Orchestra, brass well-focussed, woodwind tumbling over each other in their glittering eloquence, timpani with the gift of holding our attention with the quietest of rhythmic articulation in the scherzo, and appropriately vibrato-less string sounds at the music’s cosmic opening.

But that last characteristic was the closest we got to rawness in Gardiner’s interpretation of a work where the composer had at last broken the bounds of everything (including his own preceding eight symphonies) that had gone before. Everything here was slick, streamlined in its honing, and communicating little of Beethoven’s vast elemental struggle to realise his vision.”     …

Gergiev Conducts Mahler 7

Gergiev Conducts Mahler 7

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Fri 25 Mar 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

London Symphony Orchestra
Valery Gergiev conductor

Mahler Symphony No 7    78’

The combination of Valery Gergiev, the London Symphony Orchestra and Mahler have wowed audiences and had critics reaching for superlatives. ‘Raw energy and white hot climaxes’ is how The Guardian described their revelatory performances. Tonight Gergiev turns his attention to the Seventh Symphony: an epic journey from darkness to overwhelming joyous affirmation, taking in two eerie and fantastical night-music movements along the way.

6.15pm Pre-concert talk. Composer John Joubert discusses the music of Mahler with Lyndon Jenkins

Part of The Birmingham Mahler Cycle

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…   “Despite its vast orchestral demands, this is a chamber music-textured composition, and its demanding solo contributions were beautifully delivered, not least by the violin and viola principals.

Balances were instinctively judged, as were tempi. Gergiev wrought magic here.”

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