“This is Rattle” – Sir Simon Rattle – London Symphony Orchestra, music composed by Helen Grime, Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adès, Oliver Knussen, Edward Elgar. Blu ray and DVD discs included. Audio is PCM Stereo. Released by LSO Live Records, LSO M3066 – 9/6/2019
This Blu ray disc marks the inaugural concert series after Rattle became Music Director of the London Symphony.
This performance was recorded in September, 2017 at the Barbican Hall in London. The program appropriately celebrates British composers. The disc includes the world-premiere of Helen Grime’s Fanfares, which became the first movement of the work Woven Space, which opened the concert before violinist Christian Tetzlaff took to the stage to perform the concerto written for him in 2010 by Harrison Birtwistle. Two more works close to Rattle’s heart followed: Thomas Adès’ Asyla and the pocket-sized Symphony No 3 by the late Oliver Knussen. Finally, Rattle’s interpretation of the Enigma Variations brought the concert to a close and received a standing ovation from the Barbican audience.
The performances are uniformly excellent across the disc, and the technical directing of the concert is visually appealing. The music is a fine combination of the familiar and the new.
I was a bit surprised that this is not a multi-channel recording, given that’s been the state of the art for many years. I feel a bit deprived of hearing the wonderful acoustics of the Barbican. Still, the stereo recording is excellent, and Rattle is always a joy to watch, and the London Symphony is both precise and passionate.
As a souvenir of Rattle’s inaugural concert as Music Director of the London Symphony, it’s a valuable release. Audio wise, a bit more attention would have made it superb!