I had visited the Royal Albert Hall on another occasion when I was much younger so I did not remember much what it looked like; therefore, when I gazed upon the colossal structure, even from afar it was astounding. I entered its doors and it immediately struck me that I had entered a place that resembled a labyrinth; if I had not known where I was going I would have surely gotten lost. As I was shown to my seat, I noticed that the hall could seat about seven thousand and there was a place at the front for watching the orchestra from a standing position. The spectators applauded when the Conductor Fabio Luisi came onto the stage and went onto his podium and the Staatskapelle Dresden started with Rebecca Saunders’ “Traces”.

“Traces” was a very haunting, eerie piece. It almost personified fear as a sudden shock of sound and silence. You did not know what to expect next, which is why it almost resembled a horror movie. Slight anticipation, but insecurity because of the lack of expectation. You did not expect anything to happen then all of a sudden, the piece drew the audience in and there was complete concentration from the audience to listen to the parts of the piece that were pianissimo. It was a very exciting piece.

The Chopin Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor Op.21 was completely at the other end of the spectrum and Lang Lang, who wore his trademark white suit, graced the stage, bowed with Fabio Luisi, and took a seat at his stool for the start of the Concerto. Now I attended a concert at the Barbican where I had watched Lang Lang and the contrast between the two pieces was amazing. This completely blew me away. Even the acoustics made a difference. Lang Lang played truly marvellously. The violins started the concerto but when Lang Lang started to play it was almost as if the sound of the piano emerged out of the violin. He definitely moved the audience capturing the romantic essence of Chopin’s Maestoso,

The Larghetto was one of the movements I enjoyed the most because the way Lang Lang captured the passionate mood of the piece with his rubato playing was just magical. . Chopin wrote this concerto when he was only 19 years old and infatuated with Konstanja Gladkowska, a pupil at the Warsaw Conservatoire, and Lang Lang’s playing encapsulated this magnificently.

The last movement “Allegro Vivace” was astonishing and it reminded me of a mazurka . The way Lang Lang’s hands drifted from one end of the piano to the other was almost as though he was floating across the piano. Again, his delicate finger work contrasted with the more boisterous rhythms of the dance.

The audience responded with rapturous applause bringing Lang Lang back for an encore. He wooed us once more with a very personal performance of Chopin’s harp like Etude in A flat major.

The Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss was given a captivating performance by the much-enlarged Staatskapelle Dresden. It seemed to be inspired by nature, complete with bird song on the woodwind, the sounds of dripping icicles on the glaciers and even with the percussion signifying thunder and the bells signifying the goats grazing high in the alpine pastures.

It was a beautiful piece and you really had to concentrate to pick up every detail.

Overall, it was a brilliant concert and I enjoyed the entire evening. It was very nice to visit the Royal Albert Hall once again and both the orchestra and Lang Lang played beautifully. I was truly inspired.

Shannon Punter, aged 16

He attended Prom no.56 with Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Fabio Luisi and soloist Lang Lang on piano. They performed Rebecca Saunders: traces, Fryderyk Chopin: Piano Concerto no. 2 in F minor, and Richard Strauss: An Alpine Symphony.