tue 25/07/2017

Royal Albert Hall

Prom 10 review: Aurora Orchestra, Collon – a revolution taken to heart

When a trail-blazing orchestra takes on a world-transforming work, it would be pointless to leave the staid old rules of concert etiquette intact. Not only did the Aurora Orchestra under Nicholas Collon stretch their repertoire of symphonies...

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Prom 13 review: Rana, BBCSO, Davis – Malcolm Sargent tribute lacks punch

Ten days ago I reviewed the First Night of the 2017 Proms. Last night I was back at the Royal Albert Hall to hear the First Night of the 1966 Proms. This time-capsule experience was courtesy of a re-enactment of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s 500th Prom, in...

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Prom 9 review: Fidelio, BBCPO, Mena - classy prison drama rarely blazes

What a pity Beethoven never composed an appendage to Fidelio called The Sorrows of Young Marzelline. One crucial moment apart, the music he gives to his second soprano in his only opera isn't his best, but Louise Alder so lived the role of the...

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Prom 7 review: Weilerstein, BBCSO, Weilerstein - new cello concerto enthrals

It’s at times like this that I give thanks for the Proms. Who else would (or could) have put together a programme pairing Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with an 18th-century sonic fantasy, or topped it off with a substantial UK premiere? A bit...

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Prom 6: Benedetti, BBC NOW, Søndergård - dazzling violin magic

Nicola Benedetti was the star of this show, no doubt about that. She is a Proms regular and favourite, attracting a large and enthusiastic audience, the Royal Albert Hall filled almost to capacity. And she didn’t disappoint, giving a performance of...

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Prom 3: Faust, COE, Haitink - Europeans tread air under 88-year-old master

The message must be getting through. On the First Night of the Proms, Igor Levit played as encore Liszt's transcription of the great Beethoven melody appropriated as the European Anthem; in Prom 2, Daniel Barenboim unleashed his Staatskapelle Berlin...

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Prom 1 review: Levit, BBCSO, Gardner - fizzing Adams finally ignites mixed First Night

The ideal First Night of the Proms sets the tone for the season, perhaps flagging up some of the themes to be followed up later, offering a blend of novelty and familiarity, and preferably ending with a roof-raising choral blockbuster. This...

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Pick of the 2017 BBC Proms: from Orthodox chant to Oklahoma!

It’s the best-looking Proms season on paper for quite a few years. That might just be a different way of saying we like it, but no-one could reproach Director David Pickard for lack of original programming or diversity (look at the whole, bigger...

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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished. Clearly he had undergone chemotherapy, but...

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Radio 2 Folk Awards, Royal Albert Hall

One thing was very clear at Wednesday night’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, held at the Royal Albert Hall – at the moment at least, Scotland has something of a monopoly when it comes to folk music talent. While Desert Island Discs suggests the current...

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CD: Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall Concert

Hailing a lift in torrential rain one night from an early 2000s Dylan concert at Docklands Arena – that long-gone ghost of a room – I fell into conversation with a fellow passenger who apologetically turned to me, admitting in old-fashioned Received...

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Grande Messe des Morts, BBCSO, Roth, RAH

Lest we forget. On Flanders’ Fields. For the Fallen. No one does stiff-upper-lip, buttoned-up remembrance quite like the English. Since its composition only a little over half a century ago, the War Requiem has become our national anthem for the...

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