&ldquoAs Alsop faced the cellos and drew from them the most tremendously shaped phrases with every inflection of her baton, you were aware of being in the presence of greatness.&rdquo
9th November 2017

Marin conducts the LSO in Bernstein and Mahler

Last night, Marin Alsop — who studied with Bernstein — juxtaposed both composers’ First Symphonies, Bernstein’s subtitled “Jeremiah”, Mahler’s “Titan”. Both were written when the composer was in his twenties and are remarkably assured.

Bernstein’s isn’t often played, and Alsop proved a persuasive advocate. Like an opera overture, the symphony’s opening hinted at drama and action. The development had a plaintive quality that contrasted nicely with the second movement’s jaunty exuberance, opening out from a sinuous melodic cell. Jamie Barton delivered the climactic Lamentation, her rich mezzo alternately oracular and caressing; Alsop held precision and flexibility in careful balance.


9 NOVEMBER, 2017

The centenary of Bernstein’s birth does not fall until next August, but in London the tributes to this larger-than-life genius have already begun, with the London Symphony Orchestra leading the way. The ensemble that Bernstein conducted more than any other in the UK, and whose president he became in 1987, kicked things off with a pair of concerts under his one-time assistant, Marin Alsop.

[On the Kaddish Symphony] The composer himself revised the score several times, and there have been several attempts to rewrite the text, but Alsop opted to go back to the original; she clearly believes passionately in the viability of the Kaddish, and like her performance of the Jeremiah Symphony, it was superbly played and sung by the LSO and its Chorus, and blazed with conviction.


9 NOVEMBER, 2017