World-renowned conductor Sir Simon Rattle is joining the London Symphony Orchestra as music director. Sir Simon will join the LSO in September 2017 from the Berlin Philharmonic, where he has led the orchestra since 2002.
Watch now for the armchair critics to crawl out of the woodwork to denigrate his appointment and claim that he is over rated as a conductor. I have looked on a couple of message boards and indeed the carping has already started.
One of the main criticisms is that he is lightweight in the standard repertoire e.g. Beethoven and Brahms and that his programming of works is somewhat eclectic. But equally one could argue that the only pieces that the Berlin Philharmonic could play under von Karajan were those two composers.
It is remarkable that until the last year or so the BPO had virtually never played the work of Sibelius, although von Karajan dabbled with a couple of symphonies many years ago. And both the audience and critics alike recently received their recent performance of all 7 symphonies in London rapturously.
I will admit that some of the composers he has championed are not to my taste e.g. Ades, but who would have though that the Berlin Philharmonic would one day charge through John Adams “A short ride in a fast machine” with such gusto driven on by Rattle.
Rattle charming his way through a Berlioz piece with german students
We should also remember the “outreach” work he has done in both Germany and the UK, he recently conducted a collection of children from London schools, and similar to the annual concert he does with a schools orchestra in Germany. Can you imagine Boulez engaging in such an activity?
So let us offer a big welcome to Sir Simon Rattle and congratulate him on his appointment and tell the “naysayers” to crawl back under their stone