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Michael White’s classical & jazz news: LSO; Academy of Ancient Music; Wigmore Hall concerts

11 February, 2021 — By Michael White

Giandandrea Noseda. Photo: Tony Hitchcock

A QUESTION of the moment is who will succeed Simon Rattle when he leaves the London Symphony Orchestra.

And though I claim no inside information, I’d say one of the front-runners must be Gianandrea Noseda, the Italian who is currently the LSO’s Principal Guest Conductor and who ranks among the hot names on the international circuit.

The LSO is selling its relationship with him on robust terms right now, with an impactful new CD just issued on the orchestra’s own label of Shostakovich’s 9th & 10th Symphonies under Noseda’s baton. And if you want a free taster, the LSO has a video of him conducting Shostakovich 10 on its Youtube site, which is worth watching – not least because it also has Noseda introduce the piece.

He’s an engaging personality, as I can vouch. Some years ago I flew to Stresa on the banks of Lake Maggiore where he lived and ran the Stresa Festival; and I remember sitting with him on the terrace of his house, enjoying heart-uplifting views across the lake, a joyous lunch, and realising that a critic’s life wasn’t entirely bad. That the experience segued into an ear-opening concert under his baton wasn’t bad either. And if he were to take over the LSO, it would be great for London.

That said, he’s not short of jobs right now – as Music Director of the National Symphony, Washington and of the Zurich Opera. But stars like him do multi-task. And if you’re interested in what he gets up to in Zurich, check out a new video of him conducting Brahms’s German Requiem in the gilded splendour of the theatre there, freely accessible on the Arte TV website: arte.tv/en – If nothing else, it’s impressive to see the strings of the orchestra managing to play in masks without their spectacles steaming up.

Of all the period-instrument ensembles in the UK, the Academy of Ancient Music has a special place – not least for the pioneering discs it made under its late founder Christopher Hogwood. As from 2021 the harpsichordist/conductor Laurence Cummings takes charge. And this Friday at 7.30pm he directs the first in a new concert series the AAM is streaming from its Cambridge HQ: details aam.co.uk

Looking ahead to next week, the band is also involved in an interactive family concert with singers Voces8 and narrator Stephen Fry – based around the story of a “Winter House” which children can create by downloading in advance a special building kit (don’t worry, it’s not difficult). It streams Feb 20, 5pm. Details: voces8.foundation

• The Wigmore Hall’s ongoing series of specially pre-recorded concerts has some starry highlights next week, with elite choral group The Sixteen on Feb 15 singing English Tudor repertoire; the fabulous (no other word will do) Pavel Kolesnikov playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations on Feb 16; and on Feb 19, the unmissable combination of mezzo Alice Coote singing Tchaikovsky with Ralph Fiennes reading from Pushkin. All these concerts stream online at 7.30pm and are free. So take advantage. Details: wigmore-hall.org.uk

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