With Mozart and Haydn Masses, Less Is More

"The Orchestra of St. Luke’s with La Chapelle de Québec, conducted by Bernard Labadie, outdid all expectations, with a world-class performance that would be the envy of any ensemble."

Daniel Gelernter, National Review
A New Conductor Inspires the Orchestra of St. Luke’s

"With Mr. Labadie at its helm, the ensemble looks set to develop a distinct profile on the New York scene. I certainly can’t remember hearing a better rendition of the opening bars of Mozart’s Requiem, with claustrophobic string figures under a yearning wind chorale — floating, evenly weighted, as on an updraft of air."

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times
Every item an arrangement when ACO tackles Goldberg Variations

"Labadie’s creation is credible, expressive and refined"

EAMONN KELLY, The Australian
Concert review: Labadie and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

"Sometimes, though, it’s the smaller concerts, and those with less-familiar music, that provide exceptional musical experiences. This weekend’s program by guest conductor Bernard Labadie and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, proved to be a little gem."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Cleveland Orchestra with Labadie and Faust

"Just when you think you know a piece pretty well, somebody like Bernard Labadie comes along and shows you what you've been missing. The conductor revealed an extraordinary number of hidden details in Mozart's Symphony No. 40 on Thursday evening, leaving no phrase unexamined."

Daniel Hathaway,
Cleveland Orchestra displays impressive versatility with conductor Bernard Labadie (review)

What impression the work would have made in other hands, one can only guess. What's certain is that the performance Thursday left at least one regular listener wanting more. More of Rigel, more of Labadie, and more of both with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Zachary Lewis, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Review: Minnesota Orchestra and Chorale offer a “Requiem” of rare beauty

If applause were allowed at evening’s end, it surely would have grown to a roar when Labadie gestured to the choir. For it brought forth one absorbing passage after another on the “Requiem.” The “Kyrie” was awash in lush textures, drawing listeners closer with a whispering conclusion, the “Sanctus” serene, the “Agnus Dei” both emphatically forceful and touching, especially when the wistful cellos emerged.

Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Minnesota Orchestra brings out beauty, intensity of Fauré's Requiem

Labadie's performance of the Requiem was exceptionally successful. Perched upon a double riser on a piano stool, he paced the music beautifully, distilling a soothing atmosphere of elegance and quiet intensity from the performers.

Terry Blain, Star Tribune
BSO opens new year with all-Mozart program

There were deft touches at nearly every turn, little bends in phrase or tempo that made the music seem quite new. The way the conductor caught both the suavity and the swagger of the Minuet was but one example.

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

"Gorgeous playing of genius works... French-Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie, the principal conductor designate of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, led the orchestra in its triumphant second concert of the season at Carnegie Hall."

Barry Bassis, Epoch Times
Bernard Labadie, le Philharmonique de Radio France et Nelson Freire en grande conversation

Cela étant, sous la direction finement articulée mais aux gestes ronds et amples de Labadie, les musiciens du Philharmonique jouent parfaitement le jeu : cordes senza vibrato, archets précis, attaques incisives et justesse enviable... auxquelles se joignent des vents alertes et deux flûtes piccolo qui vous percent heureusement les tympans, puisque c'est précisément l'effet voulu par le compositeur.

Alain Lompech, bachtrack

"Labadie, who recently returned to conducting after enduring months of arduous treatments for aggravated Stage IV lymphoma, sat on a piano bench to lead an all-Bach program Friday morning. That was the only suggestion of any difficulties; the idiomatic elegance of his music-making has not suffered."

Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Labadie really knows how to make Haydn’s music come alive. While he gave ample attention to the symphony’s sturm und drang elements, the performance was light on its feet. Despite playing without vibrato and the strings utilizing Baroque bows, this performance was more big-band Haydn than period-infused. The winds really sparkled in the reprise of the first movement’s secondary subject.

Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review

Labadie’s leadership of The Cleveland Orchestra was upbeat in all senses of the word — rhythms were snappy and tempos energetic. Though seated, he made the most of the chair’s swivel feature, swooping eagerly from one string section to another. At times, he reached deep down with his arms as if to scoop the phrases up and fling them out into the action. Other times, quick, small motions of his hands and fingers communicated sparkle and precision.

Nicholas Jones,

"On January 16 and 17, Labadie-returning to the Canadian stage for the first time in 18 months, after a battle with cancer-brilliantly conducted the Jupiter Symphony and the Piano Concerto No. 9 "Jeunehomme" (featuring Alexandre Tharaud). The festival culminated with Labadie conducting the Mozart Requiem. The much-anticipated, semi-staged version by Joel Ivany shed new light of the beloved work, and was a triumph that still resonates: with three sold-out performances, the production received unprecedented critical acclaim."

BWW News Desk, Broadway World
Labadie and SLSO deliver a stylish 'Messiah'

"George Frideric Handel’s great masterpiece, his oratorio 'Messiah,' is unique in both its structure and in its enduring status. On Friday night at a holiday-bedecked Powell Symphony Hall, Bernard Labadie and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and Orchestra reminded us of the reasons for the work’s prominence."

Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Few of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's periodic forays into the era predating the standard symphonic repertory are as intelligently programmed and engagingly performed as the one Bernard Labadie is directing this weekend at Symphony Center."

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Bernard Labadie, SLSO offer well-played, charming works
"For this weekend's concerts by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, guest conductor Bernard Labadie was charged with programming some music composed in the year 1764.... The always-welcome, always-effective Labadie obliged, with two works composed in (or almost in) the target year, and two other pieces with just the right amount of contrast to go along with them."
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
KC Symphony performs poignant Fauré 'Requiem,' lively Parisian selections
"Labadie engaged the audience that filled Helzberg Hall on Friday night with a discussiopn of the works and his family connection, as French-Canadian immigrants, to Paris of the 18th century, enamored with the exotic new world. His vigorous style of conducting was likewise engaging, with sweeping motions and decisive gestures, making constant demands on the orchestra."
Libby Hanssen, Kansas City Star
A Lively Requiem, Without the What-if-He'd Lived
"On Friday night at Avery Fisher Hall, the Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie led the New York Philharmonic and the New York Choral Artists in a glowing performance of the Requiem that was one of the most cohesive I have heard. This was partly because of Mr. Labadie’s swift tempos and the prominent role he assigned to the excellent chorus in revealing the music’s function as a communal ritual."
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times
Labadie's return finds a refined and temperate touch at the podium
"As on previous visits, Labadie brought a refined and temperate touch to the podium. In particular, his direction emphasises grand contours of mood and phrasing rather than becoming bogged down in localised shifts and contrasts. Where others tend to labour the point and make Beethoven an unrelentingly dramatic experience, Labadie provides a sense of space and freshness, allowing tension to simmer below the surface and then, just as effortlessly, make way for passages of grace and levity."
Eamonn Kelly, The Australian
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
"The lowered acoustic ceiling of Hamer Hall and Labadie's approach to period string technique yielded a marvellously crisp, dry sound from the orchestra led by guest concertmaster Madeleine Easton.

"Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 is often unjustly measured against his later triumphant efforts, but this polished reading by disciplined strings and perfectly tuned woodwinds and horns reasserted its worth. Attention to dynamic contrasts and carefully considered articulation were evident throughout its four movements."
Martin Duffy, The Age (Australia)
An admirable performance from the MSO, under the baton of conductor Bernard Labadie
"Labadie’s approach to the symphony was similarly buoyant as he delighted in the possibilities of graceful nuance inherent in Haydn’s score. Lightness of touch and careful attention to the shaping of a phrase and dynamic contrast were evident throughout. The series of pauses allowing a full appreciation of the unexpected modulations in the ‘Adagio’ were beautifully realized. The vitality of the ‘Finale’ with its rollicking, almost operatic conversational expression was sheer pleasure. No wonder the Empress was impressed."
Heather Leviston, Arts Hub (Australia)
Death has never sounded sweeter
"The performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Bernard Labadie and with two emotionally pertinent vocal soloists, was stirring in its immediacy. I loved it."
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
Labadie, SLSO charm in all-Mozart program
"... conductor Bernard Labadie brought a pleasant insouciance, clarity and energy to all three of the works.... Labadie and the orchestra accompanied their soloist with the same spirit of grace and beauty, for a highly satisfying performance from all concerned."
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Haydn Piano Concertos. Marc-André Hamelin/Bernard Labadie
"Now Hamelin has enriched the mix with the addition of Bernard Labadie and his award-winning chamber ensemble in presenting Haydn’s wondefully warm piano concertos. Their collaboration on these three of Haydn’s eleven Concertos for Keyboard pays attention to details of articulation while enjoying freedom to interpret the sketchily notated scores."
Stanley Fefferman, OpusOneReview
Bernard Labadie brings his perceptive understanding of the 18th century to SFS
"Labadie’s approach to K. 543 was energetic and spirited. Every rhetorical shift was handled crisply, and the SFS musicians were responsive to his every move."
Stephen Smoliar, Classical Music Examiner
Alexandre Tharaud and Bernard Labadie make fine Classical match with Toronto Symphony

"For leadership, the Toronto Symphony called on Quebecer Bernard Labadie, who has become an authority on achieving historically informed performance styles with modern instruments.

"The result was period-performance-style clarity, rich texture and rhythmic vitality conveyed with the wider expressive possibilities of modern instruments and bows."

John Terauds, Musical Toronto
Bernard Labadie, Benedetto Lupo with the L.A. Phil
"Labadie’s 'Jupiter' Symphony was bracingly vigorous, with a jaunty swinging feeling in the menuetto. As always, Labadie managed to get the Philharmonic strings to observe period-performance practices such as using little or no vibrato, yet without sacrificing the lushness of a modern symphony orchestra."
Richard S. Ginell, Los Angeles Times
Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Canadian conductor Bernard Labadie handles CSO with aplomb
"In both Haydn's Symphony No. 94 ('Surprise') and Mozart's Symphony No. 39 ('Prague'), Labadie elicited from a reduced orchestra the crisp articulations, buoyant rhythms and sparing vibrato one associates with the historical brigade. But the man is nothing if not flexible, so his readings also boasted an elasticity of phrasing and dynamics that suggested he is completely at ease working with modern orchestras."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
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