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The Arts

Bravo LSO: Viennese M&M


Daytona Beach International Festival
Through May 3 at
Daytona Beach venues
Various prices

The London Symphony Orchestra won Sundayís (April 26) double standing ovations the old-fashioned way: with a flawless, fascinating program.

The only problem with the concert, the second in the Daytona Beach International Festivalís classical series, was that Peabody Auditorium appeared, at best, only about half-full. Still, the audience made up for its small size with enthusiastic approval, standing after the first of the concertís two Viennese Mís (Mozartís Concerto for Flute and Harp; 1778) and leaping to its feet and roaring bravos after the second (Mahlerís Symphony No. 1, ďThe TitanĒ; 1889).

In every way, it was a memorable performance, and one that showcased the LSOís full, remarkable range. Standouts in the concerto were LSO harpist Bryn Lewis, whose crisp notes seemed to dance with fellow LSO soloist Gareth Daviesí flute, led with balletic grace by conductor Daniel Harding. Languid, almost whispered in the gentle andantino, then swaying in the rondo, the flute and harpís exquisite dialogue radiated the workís essential refinement.

Just as exquisite was Mahlerís ďTitan,Ē despite its very different textures and tones. The orchestra expanded to the stageís edges for the explosively romantic symphony, permitting the soft, glimmering woodland notes of its atmospheric first movement to blow up into a tempest in the last. The effect was galvanic: When the LSO, reacting instantly to Hardingís slightest gesture, dug in for that symphonic outburst, it felt as if a wall of sound rolled across the audience, almost concussive.

And then, in a finale that was reminiscent of Mozartís burnished classicism but that also restated Mahlerís mossy, misty opening motif, the storm ended and the volume modulated to a pulsating lyricism that underlined the concertís absolute virtuosity, in the best sense of the word. Brilliant, supple and lithe, this second classical program was a triumph.
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