&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
28th February 2017

RPO/Marin Alsop at Royal Festival Hall

The human spirit is a remarkable phenomenon. It gives us the power to dig deep into our reserves to find resilience and defiance against unimaginable odds. Witness the extraordinary circumstances behind the first Leningrad performance of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony in 1942. But it also imparts on us the wonders of experiencing life through a wide array of more joyful and uplifting emotions – Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, with its tenderness and sheer joie de vivre, is a fine example. With this in mind, Marin Alsop and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra brought these thoughts together in a programme showing the human condition at its most joyous, stirring, forthright, sad, angry and defiant.

[On Shostakovich] What struck me most in Alsop’s performance was how well she shaped and conceived the piece as a whole, with the RPO producing an exemplary performance playing with granite determination, delicacy and fine detailing throughout and clearly feeling every note.


28 FEBRUARY, 2017

[On Final Movement of Shostakovich 7] It was hugely to her credit that Alsop did not rush fences, leaving sufficient in reserve for the ultimate paragraph where the horns crown the work with the motif which had opened it and timpani thunder out Beethoven’s victory signal. The ovation which followed was totally deserved.


27 FEBRUARY, 2017