Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Tadaaki Otaka – Elgar’s Froissart & Walton 1 – John Lill plays Tchaikovsky

CLASSICAL SOURCE

Otaka’s grasp of Elgar is total – which is saying something, for those who remember his fine accounts of the A-flat Symphony in particular – and his direction of Froissart (not one of Elgar’s flawless masterpieces) so captured the essence of this work that its qualities were clearly and cleverly brought out. Indeed, this was a performance of no little stature in which architecture and atmosphere were perfectly equated.

Full-on romantics: Tasmin Little lyrical in Tchaikovsky with Christoph König and RPO

BACHTRACK ★★★

One of the dilemmas for a conductor is when to perform popular pieces. This is not really a problem if you are already in the Premier League of conductors – people will always come to see you. However, if you are not yet a household name, you need to pick your moments.

Verdi’s Requiem: Vasily Petrenko conducts The Bach Choir & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

CLASSICAL SOURCE

Placing Verdi’s Requiem on Maundy Thursday is a sure way to highlight the relationship between religious ritual and dramatic intensity. In a work where Verdi sets texts in a conspicuously operatic manner, the gulf between religion and drama can easily be amplified. This performance under Vasily Petrenko’s efficient direction gave priority to vivid expression. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, although a performance in Holy Week might arguably give some consideration to a more reflective stance that tempers speeds and vocal style.

Triumph of the human spirit: defiance and compassion from Marin Alsop and RPO

BACHTRACK ★★★★

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.

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