wed 20/10/2021

BBC Proms: Douglas, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dausgaard | reviews, news & interviews

BBC Proms: Douglas, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dausgaard

BBC Proms: Douglas, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dausgaard

Familiar Brahms and Wagner sound fresh; quirky Liszt and Kevin Volans get stuck

Thomas Dausgaard: a febrile, fluent presence striking his own path through Wagner and BrahmsChris Christodoulou

Having been away in remote mountain places, I hadn't heard that the BBCSO's chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was taking a month off to recover from a virus. So it was a bracing last-minute shock to find the man stepping up to the podium to conduct Wagner's Meistersinger Prelude not the orchestra's wise Hans Sachs but a Walther von Stolzing in conducting terms, tipped unexpectedly by one source outside the BBC as Bělohlávek's successor. Lean and hungry Dane Thomas Dausgaard masterminded the most brilliantly co-ordinated Prom I heard last year, and he excelled again last night. As the programme's central cabinet of curiosities did not.

Having been away in remote mountain places, I hadn't heard that the BBCSO's chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was taking a month off to recover from a virus. So it was a bracing last-minute shock to find the man stepping up to the podium to conduct Wagner's Meistersinger Prelude not the orchestra's wise Hans Sachs but a Walther von Stolzing in conducting terms, tipped unexpectedly by one source outside the BBC as Bělohlávek's successor. Lean and hungry Dane Thomas Dausgaard masterminded the most brilliantly co-ordinated Prom I heard last year, and he excelled again last night. As the programme's central cabinet of curiosities did not.

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The BBC Radio site has a recording of the first half of this concert available (for the next six days) to listen streaming: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b013m2cw The Volans concerto premiere, panned by the reviewer above, starts at about 34 minutes in. Decide for yourself if the audience response is "indifferent." It sounds pretty enthusiastic to me - but maybe you had to be there.

Thanks, Luke - we always reference the iPlayer facility at the end of each piece. It's worth pointing out that the Brahms One in the second half is available, too - that's what I'll be adopting the 'listen again' option for, though I'll also try the Volans again; it may be that listening in a different mode, as with John Adams's Dharma at Big Sur several years ago, yields more or something else than the live experience.

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