April 9, 2011 12:48 am

Walton: Symphony No 1, Belshazzar’s Feast



Symphony No 1, Belshazzar’s Feast

Colin Davis

(LSO Live)

4 star rating

Even those who, like me, have an aversion to the vulgar splendour of Belshazzar’s Feast must recognise that its effervescent choruses are meat and drink to a top-flight choir such as the London Symphony Chorus.

Davis inspires them – and baritone soloist Peter Coleman-Wright – to a reading of technical polish, rhythmic energy and evangelical conviction, with a climax strong enough to convince even the doubters. The First Symphony suffers from a more muffled acoustic, but the performance is so gripping – the LSO at its virtuoso best – that you quickly get swept up in it.

Davis may be an octogenarian, with all the wisdom and experience associated with age, but he hasn’t forgotten that this is a young man’s symphony.

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