Events Calendar

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September 2015
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What the Press Say

"The Orchestra of St John's gave an outstanding performance in only two works and played with such intensity and drive that any additional music would have overwhelmed their impact."
Yorkshire Post
  What the Press Say ...

"Passions. But OSJ conductor John Lubbock has a passion of his own — imaginative programme building. So instead of offering one single work, he presented appropriate (Easter) music by no fewer than 14 different composers, ranging from Giovanni Francesco Anerio (born around 1567) to John Tavener (born 1944).

Naturally, given the occasion, much of the music was meditative and prayerful. But it was fascinating to hear how the different composers approached their texts, and the varying harmonies they employed to illuminate the words.

This was altogether a memorable evening."
Easter Concert, Dorchester Abbey

"When the orchestra were at their best, they were quite simply breath-taking. Delius’ “On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring” which began the evening was arresting ... , and OSJ quickly revealed their speciality party-trick of strong, warm, rich colour from the strings counterbalanced by light, floating burbles from the oboes. The ensemble’s rendition of Honegger’s 20th-century symphonic poem “Pastorale d’été” exhibited their finest quality: the superb, quasi-telepathic concord which can only exist in a group which has been playing together for the best part of two generations. Later, Glasunov’s “Winter” was difficult to fault, the ponderous intensity of its opening broken by appropriately witchy and wonderful gambolling-gnome passages."
Cushion Concert, The Ashmolean Museum

"Starting a concert with the final chorus from Bach’s St Matthew Passion: it sounds positively perverse. But that’s what conductor John Lubbock did in his Good Friday Dorchester concert. It actually worked very well: the music was movingly phrased and articulated, and the work’s momentous atmosphere was quickly established.

As it was Good Friday, you would expect tempi to be appropriately measured. Some may have found Lubbock’s speeds a little too slow at times, but there was no doubting the care and devotion given to each piece. He included his arrangement of Were you there when they crucified my Lord — this could have been crass, placed between two major Bach works, but with its wordless choral backing gently rising in volume, it worked superbly.

The OSJ and, particularly, the OSJ Voices (chorus master Jeremy Jackman) rose to every challenge, and there was first-rate solo work from baritone David Pike and oboist Chris O’Neal. This was an inspiring and often moving concert."
Easter Concert, Dorchester Abbey

"Giant statues towered over the 12 members of the Orchestra of St John’s as they took their places in the atrium of the Ashmolean Museum. One finely profiled stone head seemed to gaze particularly intently over conductor John Lubbock’s shoulder, as if inspecting the score of each piece played.

First came Hugo Wolf’s lilting, single-movement Italian Serenade. The work’s skittish melodies, with their rising and falling dynamics, suited the OSJ strings very well — and from my position at least, demonstrated that the Ashmolean’s atrium possesses excellent acoustics. You were left wishing that Wolf had completed this colourful miniature — two further movements were projected.

Next came Il Tramonto, Respighi’s setting of Shelley’s poem The Sunset. It was fascinating to hear Respighi, best known for large-scale descriptive pieces like Pines of Rome, in more intimate mode as mezzo Christine Sjölander weaved the words beautifully in and out of the string accompaniment. To me, the piece’s sound world conjured up more than a hint of Berlioz’s Nuits d’été.

The OSJ rounded off this most successful new venture with a well-focused account of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, with playing both light-footed and vigorous as required."
Cushion Concert, The Ashmolean Museum

"Every bar of The Creation proclaims Haydn’s confident religious convictions — he was an old man when he wrote it, but his faith sounds sparklingly fresh and youthful. That overriding aspect of the music was well brought out by the chorus in this performance. “Awake the harp”, “The heavens are telling” and “Achieved is the glorious work” came over as explosions of joy, with conductor Lubbock setting OSJ Voices some fast tempi. Well balanced across the four parts, the Voices (chorus master: Jeremy Jackman) more than held their own however, rising to some terrific climaxes."
The Creation, Dorchester Abbey

"[As] John Lubbock unfolded the opening chorus, his sensitivity to the
words, and to the consequent dynamics, was most memorable throughout."
St John Passion, Dorchester Abbey

'The Orchestra of St John's gave an outstanding performance under the direction of John Lubbock in only two works, played with such intensity and drive that any additional music would have overwhelmed their impact.'
Cheltenham Town Hall

'some particularly silky playing from the Orchestra of St John's.'
Falstaff at Grange Park Opera

'The Orchestra of St John's played magnificently under André de Ridder, doing full justice to the score.'
The Gambler at Grange Park Opera

'Lubbock and OSJ are a golden instrument, perfect in ensemble and balance. The structure of any piece is safe in their hands.'
Leeds Town Hall

'OSJ remains an impressive ensemble. Lubbock perfectly negotiated the music's fine line between childhood fantasy and the perils of adult experience.'
Queen Elizabeth Hall

'OSJ presents imaginative programmes which include unjustly neglected works unfussily played in a style that allows the music to reveal itself.'

'Schubert's perfectly written Fifth Symphony was perfectly performed.'
St George's Hall, Bradford

'The intensity of emotion which conductor John Lubbock drew from Elgar's Introduction and Allegro for Strings was a forerunner of the impressive playing which followed in Dallapiccola's Piccola musica notturna .'

'Mozart's Symphony No 40 in G minor .[was] a musically sensitive reading of a score the orchestra must have played often but which came over as a fresh performance thanks to the fire and energy of their conductor.'
Gloucestershire Echo)
Cheltenham Town Hall

'Stravinsky's two Suites for Small Orchestra inhabit the world of Petrushka and.John Lubbock and the Orchestra of St John's caught both the spirit of open-air hilarity and its gentle subversion.'

'A sharing of rare, arcane pleasures.'
John Woolrich 50th Birthday Concert

'The first delight was the punch displayed in the Marriage of Figaro overture by John Lubbock's band.'
The Times
John Woolrich 50th Birthday Concert

'OSJ's.première of Woolrich's Three Songs from the Book of Disquiet.caught well the witty innocence of the first song and the weightier unease of the third.[with] beautifully played string accompaniments.'

'The best was saved until last: Woolrich's Viola Concerto, shaped with care and instinctive feeling by.John Lubbock.'
The Guardian
John Woolrich 50th Birthday Concert

'Lubbock and OSJ's commitment was heart-warming.. A great birthday tribute [John Woolrich 50 th Birthday Concert] to a composer always worth hearing.'

'In typical exquisite style, John Woolrich's 50 th birthday.was celebrated by OSJ and its founder-conductor John Lubbock.'

'An evening that added up to so much more than its individual parts.'
The Classical Source
John Woolrich 50 th Birthday Concert

'The mood of each piece seemed to complement each other...and conductor John Lubbock coaxed performances of great sensitivity from his players. Every nuance of the music was allowed to unhurriedly express itself...the closing phrases produced a moving, hushed effect which seemed to cast a spell over the audience.'
Cheltenham Town Hall

'There is something very special about Lubbock's commitment to the music he conducts and how he communicates its gist to an audience, finished with the loving care Beecham once brought, an unforced warmth and radiance of orchestral timbre. The results are spellbinding.'

'With buoyant rhythm from the conductor John Lubbock and his band, the performance in general made you fall in love with music all over again.'

'We could visibly see the enthusiasm of the musicians of the OSJ instead of the apathy of symphonic musicians . . . all the pieces were performed with the same impetus and exquisiteness of sound which explains the reputation of this orchestra.'

'The Orchestra of St John's is something different. It is outstanding among the other music ensembles in London . The Orchestra showed respect for detail and a gist for communication between the musicians and between them and the conductor.'

'Resembling a praying mantis, well over 6 ft. tall and very long-limbed, the music breathes through his (Lubbock's) every inch, lovingly . . .and mirrored by his attentive orchestra and choir.'

'John Lubbock and the OSJ have produced something singular, heartfelt and unaffectedly memorable.'

  What the Musicians Say ...
  What the Audience Say ...

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