LSO/Krivine, Barbican Hall, London
Jumping and driving energy
Thursday 13 February 2003
A small bundle of energy called Emmanuel Krivine bounced on to the London Symphony Orchestra's rostrum for the first time and gave the orchestra one of its most entertaining workouts all season. Krivine is experienced and confident enough to put Beethoven's Symphony No 7 at the start of a concert. He's also interesting enough to give it an extra-vivacious stamp of his own.
As with the symphony itself, first impressions of the conductor were deceptive. Despite a seemingly confusing conducting technique, the players clearly had no trouble in sussing him out as they played notably well together, even at the mystifying start of the quick music when Krivine either set off a bar early or was trying a strange acceleration that was ignored. Yet the energy of this famously relentless work was joyous and even relaxed, the playing full of dynamic contrast.
The second-half was Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben. This uneasy tone poem is generally excused as a caricature of the heroic male, but it all too often sounds like a gung-ho celebration. Trouble comes with the love scenes, which are as directly erotic as in Strauss's other works, because it's hard to switch back into parody mode afterwards. Krivine began brisk, brilliant and unpompous and got the music to suggest an over-the-top cartoon hero, egocentric and petulant.
From then on, Krivine evidently decided the best thing was to have fun, play the sexy bits for all their worth and pile on the excess for the mock battles, done with exhilarating flair, complete with jumps into the air for the climaxes just as the late and equally diminutive Leonard Bernstein used to do, right until the music finally subsided into cosiness, and almost wholly sustaining disbelief in the music's sincerity. An enlivening event, then, rather than a profoundly moving one –just about right for the repertoire.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyoncé '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed in low-fi homage to viral video
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track