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Classical - Released April 16, 2021 | LSO Live

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Sir Antonio Pappano leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a pair of symphonies by Ralph Vaughan Williams that span the build-up and aftermath of the Second World War. Throughout the Fourth Symphony Vaughan Williams channels tension and power through the music in amongst moments of light and clarity. It evokes a sense of hardship and persistence, perhaps suggesting the ever-present threat of war in the 1930s. Written in 1947, the composer's Sixth Symphony also seems to reflect the hardships and devastation wrought by World War II. Melancholic in some movements, ferocious in others. © LSO Live
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Symphonies - Released March 19, 2021 | LSO Live

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One of Rachmaninoff’s most popular pieces, the Second Symphony is an indulgently melancholic and sentimental work: a magic box of the late-Romantic orchestra. Dramatic sections played by the full orchestra contrast heart-breaking swells that only this composer could have written. The LSO has a long history with the Second Symphony, recording it many times with conductors such as André Previn, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Valery Gergiev. For this recording, which was captured during the opening of the London Symphony Orchestra's 2019/20 season at the Barbican Hall, Sir Simon Rattle conducted from memory, performing the uncut version of this symphonic treasure. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | LSO Live

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For Gianandrea Noseda, the Ninth is Shostakovich at his most 'classical’, but a modern statement nonetheless. "Stalin wanted a celebration of the victory of Russia, and Shostakovich came out with a sort of opera buffa symphony", the LSO's Principal Guest Conductor says. "Short, witty, lots of sarcasm. I can really feel his wish to go against what was expected of him". The Tenth Symphony was written after Stalin's death and allegedly portrays the tragedy, despair, terror and violence of his tenure. The second movement is a musical portrait of Stalin, a march of unremitting terror and frenzied violence, while the finale contains some of the slowest music of the whole symphony, a reminder of the desolation of the Gulag prisoners. © LSO Live
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Symphonic Music - Released October 23, 2020 | LSO Live

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François-Xavier Roth, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, displays his deep affinity with the music of Debussy and Ravel on his latest LSO Live album. A fascination with his Spanish heritage would be a recurring theme in many of Ravel's creations. Mysterious melodies weave delicately throughout his early work Rapsodie espagnole, punctuated by bursts of Spanish-inspired fanfares and Habanera dance rhythms. The voluptuous flute opening of the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune immediately conjures a world of luxurious fantasy, weaving through the music's changing scenes with effortless spontaneity. Every instrument adds something unique, and the whole work appears to float free of form and convention. In La mer, Debussy tells the story of the eternal odyssey of the ocean. He sails through storm and calm, wind and rain, in music that rises and falls with the rhythms of the sea. The score is so vivid that you can almost smell sea salt and see the crests of the waves. © LSO Live
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Opera - Released September 4, 2020 | LSO Live

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The author's absolute masterpiece, The Cunning Little Vixen speaks of nature and the circle of life. It’s a unique piece set in an idyllic forest land, a joyous fable of animals with a sad ending. There is little theatricality in this naturalist description of alarming freshness and innocence which sees the singers transformed into animals: foxes, frogs, mosquitos, dogs, crickets, grasshoppers, hens and cockerels. Janáček had long observed nature in order to compose this unique work where evocative power is overcharged with tenderness.Sir Simon Rattle had known this work since his youth when he played the celesta part during a student production at the Royal Academy of Music in which he also directed the backstage choir. An experience that changed his life so much that he desired to direct operas for himself. Recorded during two evening performances at the Barbican Centre in London in 2019, The Cunning Little Vixen was presented in a semi-theatrical version by Peter Sellars with an international distribution in which each made an effort to master the difficult Czech language with a subtle musicality that closely adheres to the rhythm and accentuation.Sir Simon Rattle directs this opera with a joyous adolescence, bringing out a million and one details from this glittering score. Generously, the editor includes a complimentary offering, one of the most extraordinary of Janáček’s masterpieces, the radiant Sinfonietta in which the sumptuous initial fanfares glorify the town of Brno in which the composer was born. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 8, 2020 | LSO Live

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Conductor François-Xavier Roth leads the London Symphony Orchestra on the third album in the Panufnik Legacies series, which showcases new music by some of the most exciting young composers working in the UK today. All of the composers featured on this recording are alumni of the LSO Discovery Panufnik Composers Scheme, which offers six composers each year the opportunity to write for a world-class symphony orchestra, guided by renowned composer Colin Matthews. The Panufnik Legacies III contains world premiere recordings of compositions by Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Ewan Campbell, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, Donghoon Shin, Alex Roth, Matthew Sergeant, Patrick Giguère, Sasha Siem, Bethan Morgan-Williams, Michael Taplin, Benjamin Ashby and Joanna Lee. This recording has been generously supported by The Boltini Trust. The LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | LSO Live

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Gianandrea Noseda and the London Symphony Orchestra continue their Shostakovich cycle with a pairing of the iconic Fifth Symphony alongside the composer's First. Few pieces of classical music have been the subject of so much debate and discussion as the Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich. Following the 'justified criticism' of his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, the Fifth marked a turning point in his career, after which he balanced an even more precarious position as an artist under Stalin’s brutal regime. Completed by the composer at just 18 years old, Shostakovich’s First Symphony propelled him into the international spotlight. Breathtakingly unpredictable, the piece charts a course through soundscapes of blazing passion, melancholy introspection and caustic humour. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | LSO Live

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Distinguished orchestral players, the LSO Percussion Ensemble returns with a vibrant, jazz-infused album of music by Gwilym Simcock, Steve Reich, Chick Corea, Makoto Ozone & Joe Locke. Quartet Quintet centres around the world premiere of Quintet, a five-movement suite by the British pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock that pulls inspiration from seminal jazz fusion acts Steps Ahead, Yellowjackets and Weather Report, and Steve Reich's 2013 Quartet for two vibes and two pianos. The album also includes new arrangements of classic pieces by jazz legends Chick Corea, Makoto Ozone and Joe Locke. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released February 7, 2020 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
The second album in Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Schumann series with the London Symphony Orchestra travels from glorious fanfare to dream-like passages with the lively 'Spring' and 'Rhenish' symphonies. From the dramatic first trumpet-call which awakens the frozen landscape, the First Symphony is a celebration of spring. It moves through the season and a gruff folk-song Scherzo until finally a jubilant conclusion dances into summer. Desperate, heartfelt and elegant, the "Manfred" Overture opens with an urgent impetus that only increases through the work, displaying the intense strife which lies ahead for its protagonist. Schumann’s Third is one of the composer’s most impressive, painting a euphoric picture of the German Rhineland in broad Beethovenian style and closing with an exhilarating finale. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | LSO Live

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Overshadowed by the beloved Fourth and Seventh symphonies, Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 6 in A major is underrepresented in the concert hall and on recordings. A presumed lack of recognizable Brucknerian characteristics may be to blame for the symphony's relative neglect, though it may be overlooked simply because there are no biographical or editorial controversies attached to it to make it a cause célèbre. Even so, the Sixth is one of Bruckner's most original and surprising works, as it offers a variety of gorgeous themes, rich harmonies, and dynamic motives that change kaleidoscopically and keep the listener guessing, so its gradual acceptance may have more to do with changing critical attitudes than with what's actually found in the music. Simon Rattle has slowly added Bruckner's symphonies to his long discography, and he has already produced what may be the most enlightening Bruckner recording of the decade with the 2012 release of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, featuring a restored Finale completed by Nicola Samale, Giuseppe Mazzuca, Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs, and John Alan Phillips. Turning to Cohrs' 2015 Urtext edition of the Sixth, Rattle makes a strong case, giving it a matter-of-fact reading that lets the music speak for itself without preconceived notions or received traditions, almost as if it's being played for the first time. The London Symphony Orchestra plays with extraordinary clarity and vitality and responds to Rattle's steady direction with alertness and energy. LSO Live's glorious multichannel sound accounts for every note and gives this performance-focused instrumental details and sonic lushness, possibly the best recorded sound this symphony has ever received. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Shostakovich at one point thought his Fourth Symphony was the best thing he’d ever written. Extravagant and challenging in equal measure, it’s a work of epic proportions, requiring over 100 musicians including large percussion and brass sections. Owing to Soviet censure, the work went unperformed for almost 30 years after it was completed, until in 1961 it was revealed as one of the significant milestones of the composer’s output, the work that solidified him as a master symphonist. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released September 20, 2019 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
On its face, this 2019 release by John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra seems fairly straightforward and standard, with an overture at the opening and two symphonies by the great Romantic composer Robert Schumann occupying the rest of the program. Yet listeners may consider that it is far from routine on further investigation. The overture to Genoveva is the only part of Schumann's 1850 opera that is regularly performed nowadays, though it remains relatively obscure when compared to other overtures that serve to open concerts. Heard more frequently, the Symphony No. 2 in C major has had a fairly stable performance history, though like Schumann's other symphonies, it hasn't achieved the status of greatness accorded to the symphonies of Beethoven or Brahms, and remains in the second tier of 19th century symphonies. The Symphony No. 4 in D minor, however, may startle listeners who were expecting the long-established version of 1851. Instead, Gardiner has chosen the original 1841 version, which Clara Schumann described as unfinished sketches, but which Brahms favored over the revised version and revealed it to be complete when he published it in 1891. Chronologically, this was actually Schumann's second symphony, though it was first published after the two intervening symphonies and became the Fourth by default. Schumann's leaner orchestration has not been smoothed over or thickened with the later excessive doublings of woodwinds and strings, and while the form is almost identical to the later version, experienced listeners should note the many differences which are evident in this reading. The live recording by LSO Live captures the orchestra's sound with great clarity and fine details, which certainly makes Schumann's richly scored music easier to follow with pleasure. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 22, 2019 | LSO Live

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Full Operas - Released March 8, 2019 | LSO Live

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“This is Rattle” is the name of a ten-day festival organised in 2017 at the Barbican Centre in London to celebrate Sir Simon Rattle’s return to the country and his debut at the elm of the London Symphony Orchestra. One of the high points was the presentation of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, performed twice, a piece Rattle knows in fact very well and also conducted in Berlin. Half opera, half cantata, the work wasn’t intended to be performed on stage. Very much like in the Symphonie fantastique, written fifteen years earlier, and his upcoming opera Benvenuto Cellini, La Damnation de Faust is largely autobiographical; Berlioz identifies with Faust’s metaphysical suffering, between disillusioned idealism, forbidden love and internal demons. The London Symphony Orchestra is very familiar with Berlioz, having performed his work many times since the 1970s under the lead of its former conductor, the late Sir Colin Davis. Standout performances include American tenor Bryan Hymel as Faust and British mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, radiant in the role of Marguerite, once again displaying the excellent French diction of international singers. Replacing Gerald Finley at the last minute, Christopher Purves plays a particularly elegant Mephisto. Yet another contribution to the discography put together on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the bubbling French composer’s passing. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | LSO Live

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LSO Live celebrates the 90th birthday of one of the conducting world’s greats, Bernard Haitink. Few artists have a deeper understanding of the music of Beethoven than the celebrated Dutch conductor, who is known for his mastery of the great symphonic repertoire. This album focuses on Haitink's interpretations of Beethoven's concerto writing, coupling a new recording of Piano Concerto No 2 by Maria João Pires with a virtuosic performance of the Triple Concerto by Lars Vogt, Gordan Nikolitch and Tim Hugh, which was originally made alongside Haitink's now iconic cycle of the composer's complete symphonies. © LSO Live
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Classical - Released February 15, 2019 | LSO Live

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A duo of pianists from the London Symphony Orchestra’s percussion ensemble present the world premiere recording of Roll Over Beethoven by John Adams. Roll Over Beethoven pays homage to the electric vitality of Beethoven’s intensely physical, expressive world, and takes fragments from his Diabelli Variations and the Piano Sonata No. 31 Opus 110 and transforms them in the unique black box of Adams’ own musical language. In only twenty short minutes, Adams manages to generate an absorbing structure that, in his words, ‘takes these tiny musical fractals through a grand tour of a harmonic and rhythmic hall of mirrors. © LSO Live
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Symphonies - Released October 5, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Composed against a cataclysmic backdrop of Stalinist oppression and the Second World War, Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony is a deeply affecting poem of suffering. The composer described it as 'an attempt to reflect the terrible tragedy of war', and it contains some of the most terrifying music he ever wrote. Here, Gianandrea Noseda conducts the London Symphony Orchestra with intensity and understanding, allowing the music to tell its own story as it travels from darkness into light, yearning more for peace than for victory. One of the leading conductors of his generation, Gianandrea Noseda holds several high-profile international positions in addition to his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, including Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC. His previous releases on LSO Live include acclaimed interpretations of the Verdi Requiem and Britten War Requiem, and this recording follows the digital release of Shostakovich: Symphony No 5, which will receive a full release in October 2019 coupled with the composer's First Symphony. © harmonia mundi
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Musical Theatre - Released September 7, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Leonard Bernstein's 1953 musical Wonderful Town, with song texts by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, hasn't had frequent performances and recordings. It has lots of things going for it: one of Bernstein's memorable tunes in "Ohio" ("Oh, why-o, why-o, why ..."), a conga scene that is inadequately motivated but certainly anticipates West Side Story, and an ensemble cast conception that was certainly known to the writers of A Chorus Line 20 years later. It also has some things going against it: the number "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man" is retrograde even by the dismal standards of musical theater gender relations, and the storyline is a bit random. Bernstein seems to have acknowledged this with his concert version of the score, which showcases his tunes and his up-to-the-minute familiarity with jazz and Latin rhythms while not weighing itself down with the tale. Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra are fine, relaxed performers in this repertory, and they deliver a performance that goes beyond usual symphony-orchestra correctness. One wonders how the topical references to American football, Kiwanis clubs, and the like, go down with overseas performers, but Duncan Rock as Wreck seems comfortable with the latter (sample "Pass the Football") and the lead female vocal duo of Australia's Danielle de Niese and the American Alysha Umphress are fine in the more universal theme of small town girls in the big city. The cast's American accents are impressively consistent, probably more so than they would be in a U.S. production, and the sound from this 2017 live recording at the Barbican keeps everything clear. © James Manheim /TiVo
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Symphonies - Released July 26, 2018 | LSO Live

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This new LSO recording only available in digital format marks the start of a new recorded cycle by the London Symphony Orchestra with their current principal guest conductor, Gianandrea Noseda. Recorded at a public concert on 22 September 2016, this Fifth by Shostakovich fulfils the promise of the score. Under a venomous barrage from Pravda on the orders of the dread you-know-who, which brought down his 1936 opera Lady Macbeth, the luckless composer withdrew the work from the programme of the orchestra which was set to perform it, and the symphony was only brought back out in 1962. By way of response to accusations of bourgeois opacity, anti-Soviet deviation and all manner of other bullsh– er, communist epithets, Shostakovich threw himself into his Fifth, which he finished in July 1937. The creation of the work took place in the wake under the baton of Evgeni Mravinski and met with great success, not only in the USSR, but right across the music world, which lapped up the work. Yes, the language is clearer, and less esoteric than the Fourth, but anyone looking for optimism and good cheer is barking up the wrong tree. The Scherzo is a sinister flight forward by a tortured clown, and the Largo is what it is – anguished. As for the final movement, it alternates between Rossinian farce and Mahlerian snarling, ending with two minutes of the kind of joy that one feels after having been run over by a division of Soviet tanks. Conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the members of the London Symphony Orchestra knew how to project this dual atmosphere and really capture the enigmatic feel of the final two minutes. This symphony is the response of the composer to the Stalinist murderers, all the while declaring in Pravda that the piece was "a Soviet artist's practical response to well-deserved criticism". Comments that some musicologists recuse, considering that they would have been commissionned from the high places of politics. Whatever it is, what a mockery by the composer through his symphony! © SM/Qobuz  
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Violin Solos - Released May 25, 2018 | LSO Live

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason