sat 14/12/2019

London Symphony Orchestra, Adams, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

London Symphony Orchestra, Adams, Barbican Hall

London Symphony Orchestra, Adams, Barbican Hall

American minimalist conducts Britten and Sibelius with varying success

Composer John Adams: as a conductor he was happier surfing Sibelius's Sixth than Britten's Sea Interludes

What would you imagine the composer John Adams might choose to conduct – apart, that is, from a little something he himself made earlier? Well, the first of two London Symphony Orchestra concerts this week brought no big surprises: Sibelius’ Sixth Symphony was in essence a little like returning to his minimalist roots – a bunch of insistent melodic cells and dancing ostinati. Flanking it, as if to reassert that everything Adams writes is essentially operatic, was orchestral music born of opera: Adams’ own Doctor Atomic Symphony and the “Four Sea Interludes” from Britten’s Peter Grimes. Adams, the conductor, had his work cut out.

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