And that’s it, rehearsals over, it’s showtime. You’ll be able to hear the concert for yourselves on Classic FM at some time in the next few days (I don’t have the exact details when), assuming you haven’t actually made it to the Barbican to hear it live.
Over the past three days, these conductors have had to show they are up to handling Classical and early Romantic orchestral scores (Mozart and Schubert), contemporary music (Andrew McCormack), can be sensitive accompanists whether partnering a virtuoso violinist going full pelt (Elgar) or a mezzo-soprano in indecisive mood (well, the character at least, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni). Now it’s a triple whammy of descriptive music: an opera overture, ballet score and tone poem. With one of the world’s top orchestras. In one of London’s main concert halls. In front of a panel of elite musicians. And an audience eager to say they were there at the start of a major conducting career. And all this while a film crew from a production company which specialises in music (Red Ted Productions; you’ll be able to see the film they’ve been making over the weekend on the LSO website). Not to mention while some idiot has been sitting there blogging about you and your efforts.
So, no small achievement. I’ve certainly been impressed by the standard I’ve seen (although I am obviously only some idiot) and my respect for conductors has been refreshed – only the genuine musicians though; the ones with something to say; a range of technical skills that don’t come overnight and certainly don’t come by standing in front of a mirror with a stereo on; finally, who recognise they need the co-operation of 50, 60, 70 or more for them to achieve even the shadow of a performance. Many of the competitors in this year’s Donatella Flick competition were those things, or might be in time. The three who made it to the grand final surely are.
And I’m fairly certain who will win – I’ll give you an update later in the evening.