Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda conducts the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) during a concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, on 14 February 2019. (Photo credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Artillery Row Lebrecht's Album of the Week

Shostakovich: Symphonies 9 and 10 (LSO Live)

In terms of sheer wealth of experience, few conductors can compare to Gianandrea Noseda


If Gianandrea Noseda was not already music director in Washington DC and at Zurich Opera, he would probably be top of the London Symphony Orchestra’s wish list to succeed the stop-gap Sir Simon Rattle in two years’ time.

Listen to the whiplash crack of the rhythms he elicits at the start of the Shostakovich ninth symphony and you might be reminded of the young Riccardo Muti at the Philharmonia in the 1970s. Listen further to the ironic discordances of the Largo movement and you’ll hear a unique fusion – a lyrical Italian with a sophisticated sympathy for covert Russian ambiguities.

In his mid-50s, Noseda will be in contention for every major vacancy in the coming years

Noseda served time as an assistant in Valery Gergiev’s opera company in St Petersburg. He went on to work for the BBC in Manchester before becoming music director of the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy. Somewhere along the line he put in guesting stints with the Israel Philharmonic, the LSO and Pittsburgh. In sheer variety of experience, few conductors today can match him. In his mid-50s, he will be in contention for every major vacancy in the coming years.

These live recordings from the Barbican demonstrate Noseda’s tendency to go for a tight close-up when an individual player or section shines bright, and for a wider view when Shostakovich lapses into one of his mumbling equivocations and melancholic slumps. The 10th symphony loses a notch or two of tension in the finale and the recorded sound is constipated by the Barbican’s acoustic shortcomings. But the release gives us what we most crave right now – an experience, or at least a simulacrum – of live orchestral music in all its colours and frailties. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10

Critic magazine cover