Simon Rattle unrolls his LSO desert island year

Simon Rattle unrolls his LSO desert island year


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2022

The conductor this morning confirmed contents of his final season in London before taking up his Munich agreement.

Here’s the headline:
Sir Simon Rattle conducts ‘desert island’ favourites – Adams’ Harmonielehre, Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony and new Betsy Jolas work

The final concerts Sir Simon Rattle conducts as the LSO’s Music Director before coming Conductor Emeritus sees him celebrating with a number of personal favourites. He revisits John Adams’ Harmonielehre for a Half Six Fix concert on 19 April, the LSO ‘s shorter, early evening concerts, with a more relaxed atmosphere. Harmonielehre is programmed along with Debussy’s La Mer, and Ravel’s Daphis and Chloé Suite No 2 on the following evening. For his final two Barbican concerts in June Sir Simon conducts a new commission by Betsy Jolas, and Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie. Sir Simon also leads the Orchestra on a tour to Australia with concerts in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in late April and early May 2023.


  • J Barcelo says:

    If those are his desert island favorites, I hope he enjoys solitude. Can anyone really stand to listen to the Adams’ work more than once?

    • Michael Beard says:

      Oh come on, don’t be so predictable

    • Herr Doktor says:

      J Barcelo, your comment made me laugh because of something that just happened to me last weekend. I needed to move my vast CD collection to a larger space in my house, and in the process of moving it decided to do whatever I could to slim the collection down. I went disc by disc through it, and when I came to Rattle’s EMI recording of Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine, I decided to simply throw it out. I had listened to the disc several times, and found nothing in it captivated me even slightly. It wasn’t the first disc I’ve purchased because of a favorable review I read somewhere, yet which I never came to enjoy.

  • Rob says:

    If his latest Bruckner 4 is to go by, he’ll be the only one on that island.

  • MacroV says:

    They only announce this now? Isn’t the season already underway?

    I wish he would take up Nicholas Maw’s Odyssey again; seeing him conduct it with the CBSO in Vienna in 1999 was a major highlight of my concertgoing life.

    • Don Ciccio says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. I mean he threatened EMI that, unless he records Odyssey, he will not renew his contract (wow, what power he had in that day!).

      But when is the last time he conducted the work? I am not sure he included it in his concerts in Berlin, nor in those with the LSO (someone please correct me if I am wrong).

      And then we wonder why worthy pieces do not enter the repertoire…

  • George Lobley says:

    An eccentric conductor much overrated I think. Choice of music very weird

  • Chris King says:

    Seems rather predictable. Rattle has a great opportunity to reveal forgotten masterpieces but Adams and Messiaen? Heard it all before. As for Rattle’s legacy, I don’t think there has ever been a conductor with such a chasm between performance in concerts (brilliant, magnetic) and recordings (dull and risk-averse).