John Williams may not have been physically present during the Royal Albert Hall’s spectacular Friday concert, hospitalised as he was by a sudden illness. But his presence coursed through every note delivered by the vigorous London Symphony Orchestra, working under the energetic baton of last-minute replacement conductor Dirk Brosse (a friend of Williams who conducted the Star Wars live concerts between 2009 and 2011).
Dismaying as it was that Williams couldn’t attend (this would have been the first London appearance in 22 years for the 86-year-old composer), his absence conspired to charge the vast Albert Hall with added power. Prior to the event the hashtag #ApplauseForJohn, established by the Lso, reinforced the extraordinary regard in which Williams is held. But truly, no such social media gimmicks were needed – never have I attended a film