Sir Simon Rattle starts his tenure as the London Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director with a concert at the prestigious BBC Proms – 40 years after his first appearance with the LSO, in October 1977 at the age of 22. The Royal Albert Hall’s cavernous space provides the perfect surroundings for this supersize scale performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder. The force of over five hundred
voices from the CBSO Chorus, the London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català meet the LSO and a superb line-up of soloists, led by Rattle. The conductor is reunited with his long-term collaborator Chorus Master Simon Halsey, putting on “a brilliantly blazing show” (The Daily Telegraph).
Among the outstanding vocal soloists is Eva-Maria Westbroek whose Tove is “warm and deeply, seductively expressive” (The Guardian). Thomas Quasthoff “almost inevitably steals the show as the magnetic Speaker” (The Independent). Simon O’Neill (Waldemar) boasts “serious stamina and an unerring sense of musical line” (The Guardian). The enchanting song of the Wood-Dove delivered by Karen Cargill is “one of the highlights of the evening” (Evening Standard).
Schoenberg’s titanic Gurre-Lieder is one of the most opulent musical giants of the 20th century – a late romantic cantata of Wagnerian ambition and proportions. It sweeps the audience away in a frenzy of powerful sounds. The Gurre-Lieder tell the tale of a love that even death cannot vanquish – the love of King Waldemar for Tove – and speaks of a rage against the heavens, and ultimately of the consolation in a closing musical sunrise of unparalleled beauty. Rattle’s BBC Proms performance is “an intoxicating embrace of the gigantic ebb and flow of Schoenberg’s score … an ecstatic celebration!” (The Guardian).