The concert of 19th September 2007 was an event for more than one reason: it was the opening night of the season for the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London and it marked the first public appearance of Vladimir Jurowski as the new musical director of the British formation.
Born in 1972 in Moscow, Jurowski is a child of the concert hall: his father (Mikhail) was a conductor and his grandfather (Vladimir) a composer. Passionate about the theatre, the young Vladimir learnt about music at the opera in the orchestra pit, and the programme of this concert is an illustration of this: The prelude of Parsifal by Wagner is followed by Three Orchestral Pieces by Berg and by Mahler's cantata Das klagende lied ("Song of Lamentation"). Das klagende lied, composed in 1880 when Gustav Mahler was 20 and based on a text he wrote at 17, is an absolute rarity especially since Jurowski chose to conduct the princeps version of 1880, and not the version the composer reworked approximately twenty years later.
For this baptism of fire of 19th September 2007, Jurowski therefore didn't make an easy choice, however it was a good choice: during the whole performance he confers on these works, all heavily charged with metaphysical implications, an extreme tension which is breathtaking. From Jurowski emanates such an aura that the orchestra and the audience are swathed in his irresistible power of suggestion. This is the stamp of a great conductor.
Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Gulbenkian Choir