15 April 2011

Simon Oliver writes: After reading some critics' responses after our performances of Mahler's First Symphony this week, it reminds me how personal a live concert can be. The result, one reviewer gives a performance a five-star rating and another has the opposite opinion! Fair enough, but what bothers me is the inaccuracies. For the concert on Tuesday, one reviewer stated that two of our principal players, Mark Van De Wiel, Principal Clarinet, and Christian Geldsetzer, Co-Principal Double Bass, were guests of the orchestra and not members. That kind of thing just winds me up, especially as they both played so brilliantly!

The performance and audience reaction on Tuesday night at the Royal Festival Hall was one of the most rewarding I've experienced in my time at the Philharmonia, and that has been after nearly twenty years of fantastic music making with world-class conductors.

To be received by an audience with cheers and standing ovations after giving your all, as has happened in both Manchester and London this week, is a fantastic reward. To read some critics' indifference, and even hostility, to the same shared musical experience is, to me, baffling.