Day two of the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition 2014 and it’s not the bright and crisp day we had yesterday.
What’s more, when I arrived through the drizzle at Milton Court one of the staff on duty took me for one of the conductor competitors. Serves me right for making a crack about their rather identikit fashion sense yesterday!
As for the real competitors, their challenge today is a little more specialist than yesterday, requiring different technical expertise. In their allotted half hour (double what they had in round one), each will work with a soloist from the Guildhall on sections from a concerto: either Dvorak’s cello concerto (with Arthur Boutillier) or Sibelius’s violin concerto (with Rose Hsien). Then there are modern works, written by young composers who have come through one of the LSO’s new music schemes: Fleotan by Charlie Piper and Halo by Vlad Maistorovici.
I don’t know either of the two new pieces so can’t say what pitfalls lie ahead. Importantly, neither do the competitors – if they have had a chance to hear them, they certainly won’t have had a chance to compare versions, so it’s a good opportunity for them to show off their listening skills and their ability to find moments of musical magic among unfamiliar dots on the page. And how will they handle the two young soloists? How well will they follow? How will they resist the temptation to interfere?