Rattle LSO Beethoven 9

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Philip M
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:38 am

Rattle LSO Beethoven 9

Post by Philip M » Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:29 pm

After 2nd rate Beethoven last Thursday, it was back to the highest imaginable tonight - the 9th and Simon Rattle gave us a ‘Simon special’ tonight.

I’ve heard Simon do Beethoven 9 quite a few times but tonight’s was exceptional. A fabulous performance that reminded us how revolutionary the piece is, even some 200 years after it was written. Helped too by the use of the Jonathan Del Mar edition.

The first movement was very much Allegro, and all the better for it. Split violins (how common is this in North America?) reminded me how often the theme is first uttered by the seconds rather than the firsts. The timpani was at times terrifying - both here and in the almost aggressive Scherzo. Quite right too. The slow movement was meltingly beautiful. In the finale the superb LSO Chorus stole the show. Their improvement since Simon Halsey took over is amazing. I know Simon H and usually see him and his father, Louis, in the foyer before the concert. But not tonight. I spoke to Louis after the concert and he explained that Simon H was rehearsing the chorus throughout the first half. True professionalism.

Incidentally, for those who are too young, Louis Halsey was also a superb choral trainer, and made a number of 78 and LP recordings. He is now 91, but looks 20 years younger and, like his son, is the perfect English gentleman. A lovely man.

The first half of the concert was the Lulu Suite by Berg, also stunning. If you don’t know it, it id your loss. Iwona Sobotka was the excellent soloist, and in the 9th she was joined by Anna Stéphany, Rupert Murray and Florian Boesch (who was the pick).

The concert was recorded by Mezzo TV for future broadcast. If you subscribe, you’ll be gob smacked!


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