Press-cutting

"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 one."

Max Loppert, 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"

Terry Coleman interview with N. Gedda, The Guardian, 1982

" Simonov was a towering inspiration to his players."

Stephen Pettitt, The Times

 

"It is 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 Berliozian character."

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 discovery."

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."

Vernon Ram, 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.

The 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."

Harry 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 conductor."

Christopher 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".

Elisabeth 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."

The 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 River…

…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 2001

“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 sea.”

                                                   Newsday, December 3, 2001


“The days when well known orchestras and soloists toured extensively have passed, but the arrival to Britain 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 event.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roy Brewer, “SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL”, 23 October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews

 

Opulenz und Poesie

Moskauer Philharmoniker

Eine 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 Repertoires.

Die 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.

Rachmamnows 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.

Mit ei­nem kleinen Extrakonzert erfreute Simonow sein Publikum zusätzlich, indem er noch eine Zugabengruppe unter­schiedlicher Walzer von Tschaikowsky, Sibelius und Chatschaturian dirigierte.

FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG 29. MÄRZ 2007

  

UK tour, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, November 2005
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.

John Meredith, 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 expression.

Tim Foxon, Musical Resources, 11.05

 

Simonov… knew how to handle the broad issues of the Tchaikovsky…

Conrad Wilson, Herald, 21.11.05

 

65 Anniversary !!


 On 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 work.
Wishing you inspiration and new performances, health and prosperity. "      
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vladimir Putin      04.03.2006
 


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 
Interpreter: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra
Publisher: Russian Music Society, RMS-CD10001 to RMS-CD10006, 6 CD
Category: CD
Das 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 his hands.  
    Rachmaninov’s 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.
      The exact 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 output.
 
This set of outstanding and partially singular, enriching recordings belongs into each fastidious CD collection.
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Werner Bodendorff

… 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 feet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         William Ruff, Nottingham Post, 2014

 

… 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 symphonies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gerry Parker, Bristol Post, 2014

 

… 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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mark Pullinger, bachtrack.com , Basingstoke, 2017