Vänskä's Sibelius Cycle

Rave Reviews for Vänskä's Sibelius Cycle

24 March 2010

The beginning of Osmo Vänskä's four-concert exploration of Sibelius’ music with the London Philharmonic Orchestra received rave reviews from the London critics.

Writing in The Times, Richard Morrison gave the concert five stars, hailing the performance as “the best possible advertisement for the rest of Osmo Vänskä’s Sibelius cycle”. Morrison commented: “The ferocious string writing was delivered with thrilling assurance, cohesion and power… Vänskä is a wiry human dynamo: lean, whippy and indefatigably energetic. His interpretations are the same. He never stops probing and pushing”.

Andrew Clark of the Financial Times was just as enthusiastic: “Vänskä knows how to rattle the bones of the First Symphony, taking the first and third movement at a ferocious speed and inspiring the LPO to playing of rapturous virtuosity and sensitivity”. Clark went on to praise Vänskä’s “back-to-the-score interpretation based on minute attention to tempo and dynamic markings”, concluding “it was fascinating to watch a hyper-animated Vänskä tear apart the Symphony’s runic myths and reveal the volcanic temperament at its core."

Meanwhile, Fiona Maddocks called the concert “exhilarating” in The Observer, highlighting Vänskä’s “infectious, mercurial energy” whilst adding “This is a series to cherish”.

The Guardian’s Andrew Clements attended the performance of the Second and Third Symphonies: “Vänskä understands better than anyone how to manage Sibelius's favorite transitions between movements of different speeds. The slow movement of the second… had a powerful, almost operatic intensity, which Vänskä revealed as the symphony's true emotional heart. More such revelations, no doubt, are still to come.”

The Times' Hilary Finch, who attended the performance of Sibelius' Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 wrote in her five star review, “Vänskä, whose understanding of Sibelius is unsurpassed among living conductors, held the Festival Hall in thrall… London is unlikely to hear Sibelius like this for quite some time. Cancel everything to catch Vänskä’s final concert tonight.”

Attending the final performance of the series, fellow Times writer Geoff Brown summed up the prevailing feeling surrounding the Miraculous Logic series: “…the burning heat of Vänskä’s final concert in his Sibelius series with the London Philharmonic surely reached a new temperature… The one disappointment? The series was over. Vänskä must return very soon.”