The Guardian festival blog: LPO/Alsop review – SoundState festival opens with Homer and a glass harmonica | Music

SoundState, the Southbank Centre’s celebration of new music, crams a lot into five days, with programmes ranging across the globe and throughout the stylistic spectrum, from soft-centred minimalism to hard-edged complexity. Nearly all the Southbank’s resident ensembles are involved, and it was the London Philharmonic that got things under way, with five new or new-to-Europe orchestral works, expertly introduced by Marin Alsop.

Three had been specially commissioned. Burr, by Arne Gieshoff, who emerged from the LPO’s young composers programme in 2014, proved an eventful concert-opener, with enough striking ideas – frantic, tangled orchestral tuttis; ghostly, unsettling reflective moments – to justify a piece several times as long, while Anders Hillborg’s Sound Atlas was an expansive, five-part movement, predominantly slow and coloured by a glass harmonica, its string textures suggesting Vaughan Williams’s Tallis…


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