The Organ

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

London Symphony Orchestra
Barbican Hall
21st February 2006

London Symphony Orchestra concerts may be closely tied to their live recording CD series but this, if anything, adds an even greater sense of frisson to the occasion. Certainly the exuberant vitality of the singing in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis could hardly be bettered. The explosion of sound and the heady dynamics in the Gloria often seemed far closer to Berlioz in their extravagance than the potential straight-jacket of early classicism. Colin Davis allowed his forces to romp and enjoy, with the most thrilling of outcomes. However this was only one side of the coin, for the quieter, more introspective moments were equally telling. The lovingly phrased violin solo from Stephanie Gonley in the Sanctus, and the gentle stillness of much of the Agnus Dei were equally telling.

Solo singing was also drawn from strength with tenor Pavol Breslik particularly impressive. But the heart of the performance was the total commitment of Colin Davis to the work and his hand-in-glove relationship with the musicians around him.