After a transatlantic trio of concerts of late-period Mahler with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross wrote that ‘the orchestra is playing sensationally well for him. You have the sense of a conductor and ensemble in near-perfect alignment.’ And that verdict could as easily have been made after hearing Rattle’s glorious performance (since recorded) of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. And yet the orchestra can play Mendelssohn with its best period manners for John Eliot Gardiner, giving the Lobegesang a sinewy, lithe beauty that utterly dispels any lingering whiff of Victoriana. Or indeed underpinning Bartók’s two violin concertos for Renaud Capuçon in his very fine coupling. It’s an orchestra on fire, and lucky for Londoners, its considerable glory flares up with every concert.
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