Concert Review: Minnesota Orchestra in London

Posted on: February 27, 2009

In Friday’s (2/26) Telegraph (London), Ivan Hewett reviews the Minnesota Orchestra, led by Osmo Vänskä. “At the concert they performed together on Tuesday night at the Barbican, Vänskä moulded and pummelled and caressed the sound with big gestures, as if it was a physical presence. At the explosions of brass in the finale of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, he flung his arms up as if to hail the champ, just like the crowds at a Bruce Springsteen gig. All this could have been mightily distracting, were it not for the fact that the ends so eloquently justified the means. … That orchestra’s sound seems full of layers, coming from different distances; the Minnesota sound is magnificently ‘up-front’ and vivid throughout.” Hewett praises performances of John Adams’s Slonimsky’s Earbox and Barber’s Violin Concerto with Joshua Bell, then concludes by saying of the Beethoven performance, “What made the performance outstanding was the finale. Vänskä and the Minnesotans built a cumulative tension through every twist and turn, right up to the final explosion of joy at the end.”