THE LSO: SCENES FROM ORCHESTRA LIFE by Linda Blandford (Merrimack: $19.95). As an insider who tells about all the hurts and vulnerabilities orchestra players can suffer, the author, wife of cellist Lynn Harrell, writes with unmistakable empathy. And just as easily does she report in unabashed superlatives the triumphs of the London Symphony Orchestra on tour. Although her journal for home folks lapses at times into groupie enthusiasms and buddy-buddy intimacies, Linda Blandford compensates by pinpointing the acutely sensitive psychological transactions that go on between a maestro (Claudio Abbadio, most of the time) and his ensemble members. Along the way she provides an overview, one that explains the whys and wherefores of aesthetic compromise in the commercial world of music. A reference to Andre Previn, the LSO's former principal conductor, is worth noting: "In orchestra life," she writes, referring to him, "the man who is gone is always the one who is best loved." But Blandford takes jabs at Peter Hemmings, now executive director of the Music Center Opera Association, who when he managed the LSO, justified giving last-row seats to major private backers of the Boston visit by saying "in a hall like this one, it doesn't matter where you sit."