Sir Colin Davis is a man whose name has become synonymous with exceptional classical music. And after over 50 years with the London Symphony Orchestra, the nuances of performance have become second-nature to him. But audiences were in for a treat Sunday night: the LSO offered audiences a rare opportunity to experience new music by two exceptional young musicians.

Part of LSO Discovery’s Young Panufnik Young Composer’s Scheme, Vlad Maistorovici presented his new work Halo, a UK premiere. Conducted by Clemens Schuldt, a young conductor whose energy matched the vibrancy of the music, Schuldt moved with the orchestra to depict various layers of light. From the opening chord, which felt like a sharp burst of light—similar to the sensation one feels when they first emerge out of a dark room—to the pulsating sensations created with the use of timpani and flexatone, the audience felt the emergence of light.

After Halo, Sir Colin Davis appeared on stage alongside concert pianist Jonathan Biss. Performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Sir Colin Davis and the LSO played with such sophistication and ease, it was hard not to lose oneself in Beethoven’s lush harmonies; but watching Biss’ emphatic keyboard playing pulled audiences out of their dreamy haze. Biss’ feverish playing provided a stark contrast to the sinewy movements of Davis and the LSO. Yet, the players were perfectly in sync and Beethoven’s charged musical style shone through.

In Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Sir Colin Davis re-emerged as calm and collected as ever. But this time, the LSO unleashed their energies, asserting themselves as a gallant orchestra with the melody introduced by the flute. But in the second movement, in which Beethoven experiments with a minor-key theme as opposed to the charged flute theme, the LSO achieved a different type of virtuosity. As different sections emerged on top of each other, they produced not just a layering of sound, but a melody that washed over the orchestra in a tumultuous crescendo.

Audiences leapt to their feet upon the last crash of sound in Beethoven’s symphony. Having performed such a range of expressivity and sound, it was no wonder this concert was a sold out performance. And with Sir Colin Davis at the helm, there is no better orchestra to perform Beethoven's works, than the London Symphony Orchestra.

© Gautier Leblonde
© Gautier Leblonde