"It seems to me now unarguable
that Simonov is one of the most remarkable conductors before the public today.
He is a virtuoso - the stick technique is a pleasure to watch, and its
flourishes always have technical point as well as eye-appeal. But its purpose
is to encourage music-making that goes far beyond flashy self- advertisement,
or the coarse, hard-driven sound production that is the modern interpretation
of the virtuoso- the stick technique is indeed an intensely musical
The Financial Times
" Before Mr.Gedda and I met for
a lunch, I had watched him rehearsing with Yuri Simonov, principal conductor of
the Bolshoi. That, I said, was an awfully active and decisive conductor, who
sang to the orchestra as they went along and sang each singer's part with him.
"And took singing lessons to so it,' said Mr. Gedda. "He knows what it's all
about. He is Russian. It's authority, though so young'. It was, he said, like
working with Toskanini or Serafin in Italian, Beecham in English, or Klemperer
in Beethoven or Mozart"
Coleman interview with N. Gedda, The Guardian, 1982
" Simonov was a
towering inspiration to his players."
Stephen Pettitt, The Times
neither a mirage, nor a critic's aberration: Yuri Simonov is a conductor whom
the London Simphony Orchestra will play for; and he has a technique to express
himself vividly and clearly to his players, and to control the performances he
directs. There are other conductors who also possess this fundamental quality
of authority and musicianship (the LSO's principal conductor, Claudio Abbado,
at his best, is one). But their number is smaller that one might imagine; and
there are, quite simply, too many around who do not."
"London Symphony Orchestra's
Tchaikovsky cycle under Yuri Simonov ended on Saturday night with a splendid
account of the "Manfred" symphony. Simonov has shown himself in these six
concerts to be an outstanding Tchaikovsky conductor, ready to rise to the
lushest romantic heights of the music without sacrificing any of it cogency,
unfailingly attentive to pacing and detail, and able to command the closest
focus from his players".
Dominic Gill, The Financial Times, 1982
""The remarkable account of the
"Fantastic Symphony" directed at the Barbican by Yuri Simonov. Brilliantly
encompassed in the performance were the various qualities accurately defined in
its title: the structural cogency of all five movements, their formal symphonic
and dramatic progress and sharply incised picturesque detail of even the
tiniest, passing incident. Added to these was a thrilling vein of theatricality
that was never vulgar, pressurized or employed simply for superficial effect
but which always emerged as an essential part of the meticulously considered
nature of the music itself; and of the performance's strikingly individual,
tensely compelling fusion of an at once distinctively Russian and idiomatically
Robert Henderson, The Daily Telegraph
"Another strength of this "Don Carlo" was the finely
detailed performance of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under the strong
direction of Bolshoi conductor Yuri Simonov, making his American operatic
debut. Without sacrificing drama, Simonov brought out rarely heard nuances in
Verdi's rich, inventive orchestral score."
David Gregson, The San
Diego Union-Tribune, April 24, 1990
"FABULOUS" was the word used by
a senior member of the Ulster Orchestra to describe conductor Yuri Simonov
after last night’s concert. Indeed, the playing often reached heights that
stirred the blood like a tonic with players and audience united in their
acclamation of the Russian artist..... Yuri Simonov is a real
By Rathcol, The Observer, 1994
"Sublime Simonov set to conduct
a delight. Hailed as the leading Russian conductor of the day, Simonov's
conducting talents breathe fire and poetry and the Hong-Kong Philharmonic will
be the richer for the musical electricity he will generate."
The Standard (H-Kong),1994
"Russian conductor Yuri Simonov
is a virtual thesaurus of conducting techniques, and the orchestra reacted
accordingly. With this conducting nothing was left to imagination. Simonov
seemed to cue in each instrument, he was precise, exiting, endlessly dynamic.
Philharmonic reciprocated in full, with some luscious playing for Grieg's "Peer
Gynt" Suite and exciting playing for Gounod's "Faust" ballet music. Both works
summon up silent-film accompaniments, but on their own they are atmospheric and
lilting, and Simonov caught it all."
"...in the Bruckner
Fourth he (Simonov) offered a symphony of fluency, lyricism and , in the
outer movement the greatest warmth.… The whole work stayed together, with a
rare dedication, a sense of human grandeur."
Rolnick, South China Morning Post, 1994
"Power of super conductor."
Picture a caped crusader, boldly winging his way in to save a desperate
situation, a big "S" proudly emblazoned across his chest. No, it's not
Superman, but Simonov, Yuri Simonov the Russian maestro coming once again to
the CBSO's rescue by stepping in to replace an indisposed
Morley, The Birmingham Post, 1994
"The NOB has... a new permanent
conductor, Yuri Simonov, whose first concerts with the orchestra have been
spectacularly successful with musicians, the public and critics alike..... The
future now looks distinctly promising for this rare symbol of Belgian unity".
Julius Stenzel, The Bulletin, 1994
"Elgar's great choral work,
"The Dream of Gerontius", was given a glowing and powerful performance by the
Belgian National Orchestra and the Brussels Choral Society on April 29 at
Palais des Beaux-Arts... Conductor Yuri Simonov kept the enormous forces of
orchestra and chorus under taut control, deftly following all the moods of
music- quiet, agitated, beseeching, dramatic, poignant, turbulent, and finally
serene- set to the visionary poem of Cardinal Newman".
Csicsery- Ronay, The Bulletin, 1995
"… every phrase is lovingly
turned and shaded, and the expression in each extract is finely attuned to its
dramatic context. The brass intone the Faith motive from "Parsifal" with
dignity and restraint, and while the playing at the climax of Isolde's
Liebestod lacks nothing of passion, Simonov shows respect for Wagner's single
"forte" marking. This is also one of the most coherent Wagner sound on disk,
offering separation of textures, a telling projection of the lower orchestral
voices, and a real sense of space."
Gramophone "Good CD Guide 1995"
From Russia with emotion
“As if to prove their
versatility the orchestra, under their conductor Yuri Simonov, gave a gentle,
evocative performance of the Prelude from Mussorgsky’s opera Khovanshchina which magically depicts dawn over the Moscow
…There were varied
colours and textures too, notably in the vigorous Scherzo with its vivid,
sharply contrasted orchestration. Climaxes were powerful, and the work dazzling
final pages brought a rush of adrenaline of the kind only rarely experienced in
the concert hall.”
Evening Post, January 29, 2003
“… Simonov with his Moscow
Philharmonic Orchestra managed to keep the energy high with his own hour-long
suite of music from Swan Lake. Concentrating on boisterous, lesser known
excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s popular ballet, Simonov and the players attacked
the music like a virtuosic concerto for orchestra.”
Classical Music, Florida, December
“The orchestra’s conductor
and music director, Yuri Simonov provided yet another dimension of cinematic
pleasure through his highly balletic podium manner, a
style that was clearly less about showing the beats than about pantomiming the
nature of the sound he desired at the any one moment. He would at times scoop
the air, pound it down, shove it forward, or part it like a
Newsday, December 3,
“The days when well known
orchestras and soloists toured extensively have passed, but the arrival to
of the Moscow Philharmonic,
under its Conductor Yuri Simonov, is showing that it can still send audiences
away with feeling of having participated in a remarkable musical
Roy Brewer, “SEEN AND HEARD
International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews
Opulenz und Poesie
Tournee des Sinfonieorchesters der Moskauer Staatlichen Philharmonie ruft stets
auch Erinnerungen wach an Zeiten, als manche Dirigenten noch wie Zaren über das
Musikerkollektiv geboten und die berühmtesten Ensembles dieser Welt über
jeweils unverwechselbare Klangideale verfügten. Yuri Simonow, seit 1998 Chef
dieses gar nicht so alten russischen Traditionsorchesters. verzichtet zwar
auf jede Aura der Selbststilisicrung und erscheint als freundlicher Primus
intcr pares, doch dürfte deswegen kaum minder hart geprobt werden. Beim
„Pro-Arte"-Gastspiel in der Alten Oper jedenfalls verblüfften auch jetzt wieder
die Opulenz der spätromanti-chen Klangentfaltung und die exemplarisch zu
nennenden Interpretationen einiger nicht alltäglicher Werke des russischen
besonderen Vorzüge der Moskauer wurden in der Ouvertüre „Große russische
Ostern" op. 30 von Nikolai Rimsky-Korssakow und in den Sinfonischen Tänzen op.
45 von Serge Rachmaninow auf unterschiedliche Weise deutlich.
sinfonischer Abschied von 1940 erwies sich erwartungsgemäß als das komplexere,
schwieriger auch zu gestaltende Werk, zumal diese gegen Ende immer häufiger von
der „Dies-irae’-Sequenz infizierten Totentänze mit zunehmender Härte der
Klangsprache ausgestaltet sind, wie sie Rachmaninows Spätwerk auszeichnet.
Solche Attacken wären zwar im Schlagzeug noch zugespitzter zu formulieren,
doch ließen das schier unermessliche Volumen der Blechbläser und der betörende
Streicherschmelz immer wieder erstaunen.
einem kleinen Extrakonzert erfreute Simonow sein Publikum zusätzlich, indem er
noch eine Zugabengruppe unterschiedlicher Walzer von Tschaikowsky, Sibelius
und Chatschaturian dirigierte.
ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG 29. MÄRZ 2007
UK tour, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,
The orchestra rose to every challenge, providing the heart-on-sleeve emotional
excitement audiences expect from a Russian orchestra – and which was cheered to
the rafters before three encores.
Will Ruff, Nottingham Evening Post, 16.11.05
I’ve never been a big fan of his Fourth Symphony featured here… But let’s face
it, if anyone is going to do it justice, it’s going to be the Moscow Phil. And
after last night’s performance I have been forced to change my mind.
It was a masterful, powerful, everything-ful tour de force. I got the
impression this was how the composer would have wanted it to sound.
The allegro finale was ebullient, full of drama and superbly executed. I even
caught hitherto stony-faced conductor Yuri Simonov smiling...
…all were smiling. Quite a lot, actually.
Cambridge Evening News, 18.11.05
Rachmaniov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 may be
staple fare, but under Yuri Simonov, Chief Conductor, they were performed with
a natural freshness that can only be achieved as the result of endless
dedicated hard work. Discipline and finesse gave the sound a classy sheen that
was clean but not clinical and always from the heart.
Dark drama poured from pianist Natalia Trull’s Rachmaninov. Peaks and troughs
of emotion flowed through its famous big tunes with the intensity of the
concerto’s romantic pull moulded by Simonov as its sculptor…
Even more familiar melodies riddled the Tchaikovsky, Simonov shaping them with
subtle colouring and remarkable precision.
Carol Main, Scotsman, 22.11.05
…both conductor and players demonstrated most clearly their strengths: tight
ensemble, clarity of sound and a feel for the grand sweep of the composer’s
Tim Foxon, Musical Resources, 11.05
Simonov… knew how to handle the broad issues of the Tchaikovsky…
Conrad Wilson, Herald, 21.11.05
March 4th , 2006 Maestro Yuri Simonov celebrated his 65th Anniversary. On this
occasion, Mr.Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, send a letter of
congratulation to Maestro Simonov:
"Dear Yuri Ivanovich!
Please accept my sincere congratulations on your 65th Anniversary.
Your brilliant talent, perseverant work and your infinite love for music have
brought to you, an outstanding conductor of today, the highest recognition of
your professional skills and the sincere admiration of the audience. Your truly
unique creativity allows you to be successful with the most famous orchestras'
worldwide, and lets you to devote yourself actively to teaching and tutorial
Wishing you inspiration and new performances, health and prosperity. "
Yuri Simonov Collection
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1
& 4/Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2/Shostakowich: The golden Age/Tchaikovsky:
Swan Lake/Capriccio Italien/Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique Op. 14/Rachmaninov:
The Rock Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliette
Philharmonic Orchestra, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic
Music Society, RMS-CD10001 to RMS-CD10006, 6 CD
Orchester 06/2008, PAGE 65
The symphonies No.
4 in B major and No. 1 in C major by Beethoven open the impressive journey with
music of most different colors. One does not need a long time or trained ear to
appreciate the high quality of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. The tempi of
the symphonies are dignified, the sound balance and ensemble are natural,
honest and balanced, without being too arduous. By exact hearing one feels in
addition, the different touch of the Russian, warmhearted interpretation, in
which the clear, Apollonian greatness yields a certain sultriness in tone.
Conductor Yuri Simonov has the responsive world-class orchestra firmly under
symphony No. 2 in E minor op. 27 presents itself, without exaggeration, as a
high point of the Russian art of interpretation. The long bow, the romantic,
deep passion spreads freely in the never-ending first movement of Brucknerian
length. All musicians, especially the clarinet soloist in the slow movement
seem to devour the elegiac tone and breeding melancholy that dominate this
delightfully and devotedly played piece. The final movement, composed with
raptured gaiety makes it seem, as if Rachmaninov wrote his Second especially
for the Moscow musicians and shows that Yuri Simonov had rendered particularly
well this great, dark in timbre and subtly instrumented score.
opposite is the rendering of the 1929 ballet “The Golden Age” by the
juvenile-fiery Dmitri Shostakovich. Simonov and the Bolshoi theatre orchestra
delight us with dynamic accuracy and true joy of playing in this cheerful,
sarcastic and ironically orchestrated score. It is a true joy to listen how
these breathless and amusing 107 minutes pass as in the flight.
In 1994 Simonov
recorded the Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz with the venerated Slovenian
Philharmonic. It seems to exist a certain relationship of the Russian soul with
the French “esprit”, since the work shows itself here in captivating sharpness
and elevated musicality. Outstanding is the way the different characters and
moods of the first two movements are shiningly revealed. Due to the tardiness
of the affect-stressed interpretation the recording wins a rarely heard
seizureness that would prove it sought-after and trailblazing.
The last CD in
this splendid collection comes back to the Russian œuvre with Rachmaninov’s
Symphonic Fantasy “The Rock” op. 7 and “Romeo and Juliette” ballet suite by
Sergei Prokofiev. Similar as in the 2. Symphony the Moscow Philharmonic shows
their soulful and generous way of playing and therefore renders in a fantastic
way the musical setting of the Lermontov’s poem.
As is the case
for the “Swan Lake” the conductor arranged also the suite of the wonderful
music to “Romeo and Juliette”, choosing 12 out of 52 numbers relatively
independently from the original course and creating in this way a different
dramaturgy of his own. Depending upon a character they are played once very
gracefully then freshly. The orchestra offers intensive greatness and maximum
This set of outstanding
and partially singular, enriching recordings belongs into each fastidious CD
… Conductor Yuri Simonov
coaxed an openhearted yet decidedly un-schmaltzy performance from his players,
shaping melodies so that they seemed to take flight. Three generous encores
followed which, not surprisingly, brought the audience cheering to their
William Ruff, Nottingham Post,
… Conductor Yuri Simonov who,
for all the fact that he uses many gestures that cannot be found in the
conductor's manual, was inspirational in the way that he coaxed the very best
out of this fine orchestra [...] Between them, conductor and orchestra explored
every nuance within the scores of these very differing
Gerry Parker, Bristol
… At 76, Yuri Simonov is
unmistakably an Old School conductor, with an autocratic, tsar-like air, ruling
by divine right. He has a fluid baton technique, tracing precise shapes,
sculpting every single phrase.
… This wasn’t barnstorming Rachmaninov – apart from the
composer’s punchy sign-off – but romantic and sensitive, where every phrase,
every note was allowed to register. Both pianist and orchestra knew when to
play second fiddle, Kempf acting as rippling accompaniment to the big string
theme before taking his turn in the spotlight. …Simonov was quick to adjust
dynamics, drawing superb playing ranging from warm horn vibrato to grainy
double basses to a sensational clarinet.
Pullinger, bachtrack.com , Basingstoke,