David Hill conducts London Symphony Orchestra in Duruflé Requiem

28 February 2015

“wonderfully majestic”
**** Tim Ashley, The Guardian

“I was grateful for Hill’s lyric flow [...] Curled up in my seat, I was content.”
****Geoff Brown, The Times

“Hats off to David Hill in French repertoire with the LSO at the Barbican…”
**** David Truslove, bachtrack

David Hill stepped in at short notice on Sunday 1 March 2015 to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus in an all-French programme of Debussy La damoiselle élue, Fauré Pelleas et Melisande suite and Duruflé Requiem.

“Duruflé’s Requiem is at once an acquired taste and difficult for its performers. Steady rhythms are offset with continuous metrical irregularity. It can easily sound forced, though Hill allowed it to evolve naturally and with great ritual solemnity. The choral singing was first rate and wonderfully majestic.”
**** Tim Ashley, The Guardian

“Given the testosterone and star spectacle in many London Symphony Orchestra concerts, it’s an unusual pleasure to spend one night with the judicious, the modest and the shy.[...]the original conductor, Donald Runnicles, caught influenza; David Hill arrived as a reliable late replacement and the sea [Debussy’s La Mer] was replaced with Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande suite, music so dainty and loveable that it could have been written by a dormouse.

The silken LSO strings in the suite’s Sicilienne were one of the concert’s special joys. Similar beauty arrived during the prelude to Debussy’s early cantata La demoiselle élue. [...] I was grateful for Hill’s lyric flow as the London Symphony Chorus coursed through Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem, like a Burne-Jones painting daubed in words.[...]Curled up in my seat, I was content.”
****Geoff Brown, The Times

“Serenity was strikingly evident in Sunday night’s concert-opener, Debussy’s lyrical cantata La damoiselle élue (The Blessed Damozel). [...] Its musical language (a heady cocktail of Franck, Massenet and Wagner) was a perfect match for the poem’s imagery and both were magnificently recreated by David Hill and the London Symphony Orchestra. Amongst the many notable qualities of his account was the hushed opening prelude where Hill coaxed from his players some of the most tender playing I’ve heard in this rarely performed work.

With David Hill taking over at such short notice from an indisposed Donald Runnicles, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a programme change. Fortunately, the all-French theme remained [...] In the [Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande] Suite’s four movements, Hill responded effortlessly to the work’s melodic contours and summoned just the right wistful evocation in the first movement and brought to the second a brightly-lit scene where the clarity of Fauré’s scoring is superb.

[...in Durufle’s Requiem] It is the chorus which make the strongest contribution to the work’s emotional impact and in this aspect they were gloriously responsive to Hill’s energising and passionate gestures. [...] Having taken on this programme with just twenty-four hours notice Hill might also have felt some sense of serenity in those closing bars. If he did then it was richly deserved and he must be congratulated for the quality of these fine performances.”
**** David Truslove, bachtrack

“David Hill conducted sympathetically and skilfully. Having stepped in at such short notice I hope he will be given the chance to conduct the LSO again soon.”
Alan Sanders, Seen and Heard International

The text below is copied from the LSO website:

David Hill, Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, joins the London Symphony Chorus and LSO for this all-French programme. Duruflé‘s meditative and intensely moving Requiem is coupled with a fascinating insight into Debussy’s early development, his Symbolist cantata The Blessed Damozel, based on a poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Change of conductor and work

Donald Runnicles is suffering from influenza and has been forced to withdraw from the Barbican performance on Sunday 1 March 2015.

We are extremely grateful to David Hill for agreeing to step in at extremely short notice and conducting Debussy La Damoiselle Elue and Durufle Requiem as originally advertised. Debussy La Mer is replaced with Fauré Pelleas et Melisande suite.

DEBUSSY La damoiselle élue
FAURÉ Pelleas et Melisande suite

David Hill conductor
Nicole Cabell soprano
Kelley O’Connor mezzo-soprano
Duncan Rock baritone
London Symphony Orchestra
Neil Ferris chorus director
London Symphony Chorus

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