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Alan Gilbert 'Hits Ground Running' in London Symphony Orchestra Debut

Posted April 11, 2016

 NY Philharmonic Alan Gilbert

Last week Music Director Alan Gilbert made his debut conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in two programs at the Barbican Centre.

In a review of the April 4 concert, headlined "New York maestro hands audience an adrenaline rush," The Guardian hailed the performance as "exciting." The Times of London said: "The swaggering brilliance brought to Nielsen’s Masquerade overture seemed especially American, underlined by gestures and podium moves that suggested Gilbert had been struck by lightning. ... [In Sibelius's Third Symphony] Gilbert’s incisive way with dynamic shifts brought positive results, and I still came home humming lilting morsels from the second movement.”

The Evening Standard summed it up: "It’s taken a long time for the London Symphony Orchestra to book New York-based conductor Alan Gilbert, but to judge from his debut concert, a long-term relationship seems likely."

“This concert began with the pop of a champagne cork ... with a buoyant rendition of Carl Nielsen’s flamboyant Masquerade overture. Gilbert struck a fine balance between Mozartian grace and Straussian fun (both Johann and Richard!) in this fleet and exuberant performance,” said Seen and Heard International.

“Gilbert’s interpretation of Sibelius 3 was impressive," said Classical Source. "Absolute clarity of inner parts, tremendous force at climaxes and wonderfully soft pianissimos, the LSO very responsive.”

The April 7 concert featured Nielsen's Symphony No. 4, Inextinguishable. Classical Source said: “Gilbert ... ensured an explosive opening, emotions laid bare, and there was no doubting that [the first movement] brought a heightened sense of conflict, momentarily relieved by the pastoral second movement that is scored mostly for woodwinds, and here played beguilingly. ... Alan Gilbert seems to have hit the ground running in his first engagements with the LSO."

More Sibelius, the Symphony No. 7, is on offer when Gilbert returns to the David Geffen Hall podium next week. See you there!