Symphony No 1, Belshazzar’s Feast
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.