Andrew Litton, conductor
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Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Shostakovich's Sixth Symphony pushes the extremes even further and worked well as a partner to the Tchaikovsky. Desperation and consolation lie hand-in-hand in the long opening Largo, the essential core of this 1939 symphony, which Litton paced with great sensitivity. The two final scherzo-style movements then carried a manic exuberance, as gaudy and surreal as Mahler, and as disturbing. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6

— Rian Evans, The Guardian

There's a real astringency to many of the textures in [Rachmaninov's] Third Symphony, a bittersweet terseness that Litton clearly relished. He took delight in the sonorities that it contains, some of them just as wondrous in their way as anything in the performance of Szymanowski's First Violin Concerto that had preceded the symphony. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Liszt: Les Preludes, Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1, Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 3

— Andrew Clements , The Guardian

In stark contrast Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in full orchestral guise, inhabits another world. Litton's dazzling fingerwork left myriad technical intricacies bereft of their potency with unstinting idiomatic support from the BSO. The demand for an encore was Round Midnight by Theolonious Monk in a marvelously moody realization. To top this, Litton turned to Mahler's Symphony No.5, delivered with patrician resolve, coherent and cogent in all its textural layers.

— Mike Marsh, Bournemouth Echo

In the hands of Litton and his players, [Walton's 1st] symphony's immense energy, its huge dynamic thrust, grabbed the audience by the throat. Contrasts between the big brassy outbursts and the gentler, more romantic music were bold and highly dramatic.

— William Ruff, thisisnottingham.co.uk

There was nothing sentimental or indulgent about the approach of Litton and his soloist, Freddy Kempf, rather, an urgency that created an unrelenting momentum, and passionately argued climactic moments that reinforced the symphonic grandeur of [Rachmaninov's Third Piano] concerto. Kempf's rapport with Litton, no mean pianist himself, was instinctive, making this as spontaneous and passionate a collaboration as could be wished for.

— Rian Evans, The Guardian

Throughout the opening movement of Walton's First Symphony, Andrew Litton ensures that crucial ostinato string rhythms are always sharply defined, sustaining a high degree of dramatic tension. During the development, Litton skillfully builds climaxes layer upon layer, and the cumulative result can be shattering, especially in concordance with Decca's impressively clear instrumental and spatial detailing.

— Michael Jameson, Classics Today

A winning performance too from Litton who realises Walton has so perfectly embedded his 'naughty' references and allusions into his embrace of popular song and dance that they don't need to be underlined. This is equally true of Walton's satire. Litton appreciates Walton's pastiche to a nicety and encourages playing of finesse and exactness from his 'old' orchestra (he was Principal Conductor from 1988-94); throughout, Litton's refinement is a perfect foil for Walton's wit - I don't think I've heard this music better done.

— Colin Anderson, Classical Source.com

Litton has a natural ear for Tchaikovskian detail — time and again he draws the listener to revel in those delightful orchestral touches with which Tchaikovsky decorates and embroiders his melodies...Superb playing driven along by idiomatically imaginative conducting.

— Ivan March, Gramophone

Litton and the BSO were committed advocates of Carpenter's Mahler [Symphony No. 10], and made the symphony a terrifying revelation.

— Tom Service, The Guardian

American-born Litton has the flexibility and imagination to get right at the heart of Walton's expressive textures and pungent scoring ideas. Recommended without reservation.

— Tom Di Nardo, CDchoice.com

In what is one of his finest performances yet, Andrew Litton leads Belshazzar with a level of energy and apparent lack of inhibition reminiscent of the late Leonard Bernstein.

— Richard Schneider, Stereophile.com Recording of the Month

The real jewel here is Andrew Litton's electrifying interpretation of Walton's First Symphony. While there certainly are many other fine recordings of this masterpiece, none that I've heard has the refinement and energy created by Litton and the Bournemouth SO.

— Lewis Lipnick, Stereophile.com

Mr. Litton's gifts...shine and draw one into them. Like the man himself, they are eminently likable. You may or may not be a fan of Mr. Litton's now or in the future, but I can't imagine you would ever find yourself indifferent to him.

— John Ardoin, Dallas Morning News

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