Tchaikovsky - Iolanta
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko
Royal Albert Hall, London
The Philharmonia Chorus sang with admirable focus.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 9 November 2023
Verdi - Messa da Requiem
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Royal Festival Hall, London
...but even more impressive was the Philharmonia Chorus. Sometimes a British performance of this piece leaves me longing for an Italian chorus, but not here. They were simply superb, whether in the cries of terror of the Dies Irae, or the consoling Agnus Dei.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 22 September 2023
The Philharmonia Chorus were weighty in the Confutatis, and the enormity of their entry in the Libera Me was monumental.
Marc Bridle, Opera Today
Handel - Samson
Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Laurence Cummings
Royal Albert Hall, London
This spellbinding rendition of Handel's great oratorio came to the Proms as a heartwarming and uplifting blaze of glory. Vital to the success of the evening was the Philharmonia Chorus, who were on absolutely thrilling form.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 24 August 2023
Allan Clayton's rich tenor defied the tricksy acoustics of the great hall, while the Philharmonia Chorus were truly outstanding. .....the Israelites' prayer in Act 2, its chewy harmonies sung with relish as part of an outstanding performance by the Philharmonia Chorus.
Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 24 August 2023
There's much to be said for performing Handel oratorios with a chorus several times bigger than expected. The Philharmonia Chorus numbered more than 100, and what a difference their weight and attack made. Using this chorus was a bold decision by the conductor Laurence Cummings and the Academy of Ancient Music. But it paid off in a work that depends so much on choral battles between the Philistines and Israelites.
Richard Morrison, The Times, 24 August 2023
The Academy of Ancient Music under Laurence Cummings for Handel's Samson so far, so promising. But full symphony chorus and the cavernous Royal Albert Hall? It shouldn't have worked, but the Philharmonia Chorus' performance was totally convincing. Delivering a majestic sound in big numbers like "Then round about the starry throne" and "Let their celestial concerts all unite", their touch was also light when required. Cummings' energetic attention helped, almost stabbing out their "Samson" entries in "Weep Israel", holding them to a dramatic pause after "strength" before they declare the hero slain.
Nick Boston, Bachtrack, 24 August 2023
A phenomenal evening which despite the odd hiccup attained a level of musical excellence available to very few performances, anywhere. These forces would surely provide a recording of great note.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 25 August 2023
From the opening notes of the first chorus, the fast and brilliant 'Awake the trumpet's lofty sound', the Philharmonia Chorus impressed. They made Act One end on a positive note with a strong account of the finale chorus, whilst Act Two ended in a more complex manner as the chorus' vividly urgent 'To song and Dance we give the day' gave way to the great double chorus hymning both Dagon and Jehovah. This was grand indeed, but Cummings also brought out the underlying dance-rhythm of the music. In Act Three, 'With thunder arm'd' was bravura indeed, with the chorus seemingly following Cummings' fast pace with ease.
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 25 August 2023
The Philharmonia Chorus, under chorus master Gavin Carr, was on wondrous form, whether capturing the solemn gravity of the Israelites' proclamations, or the carefree, hedonistic feel of many of the Philistine choruses.
Sam Smith, Music OMH, 27 August 2023
Holst - The Planets
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Emilia Hoving
Bold Tendencies, Peckham
When the hidden choir of women's voices (Philharmonia Chorus) joined in for the final bars of Neptune, to a ripple of harps, organ and celesta, the effect was ethereal, if not extraterrestrial. Some of the many children present - lasting only an hour and in daylight, the event was ideal for a trial concert run - looked round and up in astonishment to see where the sound came from. (In fact the singers had gathered, walking up and down to create a near-far effect, on the car park's level 7 ramp, alongside the ever celestial Sevenoaks via Nunhead train line.)
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 10 June 2023
Rachmaninov - The Bells and Scriabin - Prometheus, Poem of Fire
Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Stanislav Kochanovsky
Royal Festival Hall, London
Not to be left out of the carnival, the fastidious conductor Stanislav Kochanovsky and the constantly rippling pianist Alexei Volodin ditched part of their traditional black for open white shirts. So did half of the Philharmonia Chorus, a formidable force both here and in Sergei Rachmaninov's The Bells, the first half's more tuneful option.
Geoff Brown, The Times, 12 May 2023
The Philharmonia Chorus had that mystically intense quality the music needs.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 12 May 2023
The Philharmonia Chorus provided a mighty sound in Loud Alarm Bells, their solo movement, but also backed the three soloists stoically.
Mark Pullinger, bachtrack.com, 12 May 2023
Mahler - Symphony No.2 'Resurrection'
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily PetrenkoRoyal Albert Hall, London
The choir, who have to wait patiently until half way through the fifth movement for their entry, were sensational; intonation was immaculate, ensemble was spot on, words were intelligible in spite of being sung at the quietest of pianissimi (and, for the basses, going down to an impossibly low B flat below the stave).
David Karlin, bachtrack.com, 31 March 2023
Beginning with a whispered mantra, massed ranks of the Philharmonia Chorus built up to the quiveringly evocative finale with heft and ardour.
Neil Fisher, The Times, 31 March 2023