sun 18/08/2019

Proms

Prom 40: Hough, OAE, Fischer review - pretty royal things

There it gleamed, the pearl in the massive oyster of Albert's colosseum: the gilded, decorated piano supplied to his Queen by Érard in 1856. Pearly in sound it was not, though often harp-like; the programme was of mostly silver works, with a gold...

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Prom 37: The Childhood of Christ, Hallé, Pascal/ Prom 38: Bach Cantatas, Solomon's Knot reviews - holy radiance great and small

Berlioz's most intimate oratorio certainly isn't just for Christmas – but, given its scale, is it right for the Proms? Certainly in anniversary year we'd hoped for something bigger: the Requiem, turned to mush earlier this year in St Paul's...

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Prom 34: Argerich, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Barenboim review - erratic star, sleek ensemble

Perhaps those who came for the Argerich touch and left at the interval of this instant-sellout Prom were satisfied. After all, the legendary Argentinian pianist gave us some vintage minutes of her silk-spinning mercurialism. Yet it was in the midst...

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Prom 28: BBCNOW, Otaka review - fantastical choral expedition

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ second consecutive night at the Proms, accompanied by their associated National Chorus, ventured further out of the classical mainstream than the first. Where Wednesday night had seen a solid Germanic programme...

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Prom 26: BBCNOW, Stutzmann review – a banquet of fervent favourites

Not every Prom has to push musical boundaries or bust concert conventions. On the face of it, last night’s programme from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (and National Chorus of Wales) stuck to a thoroughly traditional recipe. Two familiar 19th-...

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Prom 18: Andsnes, Mahnke, Skelton, BBCSO, Gardner review – all passion spent

It’s a curiosity of music that a performance can occasionally be better – more persuasive and impressive – than the work itself. Even Britten’s most devoted advocates would find it hard to rank the Piano Concerto among his masterpieces. In his...

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Prom 17: Shaham, Bavarian RSO, Nézet-Séguin review – a Montrealer brings “l’fun”

Montrealers exude a particular kind of happiness and have wonderfully snappy expressions to convey it: “Chu correc”, means ‘I’m fine’, and “C’est l’fun” means...exactly what it looks like. Yannick Nézet-Séguin is a distinctly proud Montrealer (“It’s...

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Prom 13: Des canyons aux étoiles..., BBCSO, Oramo review – cursory contemplations of earth and sky

Messiaen’s language of juxtaposition over development was always susceptible to the “greatest hits” phenomenon that began to suffuse his music with contented wonder during the 1970s. While younger colleagues were throwing toys out of the pram and...

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Prom 8, Faust, BBCSO, Eötvös review - terrific orchestral showcase

By happenstance, this Prom was fully topical, with Debussy’s languorous Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune fitting for one of the hottest days in London’s history, and the “Infernal Dance” from Stravinsky’s Firebird mirroring the infernal political...

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Prom 3, CBeebies: A Musical Trip to the Moon review - a celebration of the Apollo 11 landing

This year’s Proms for children were entitled “Off to the Moon”, and audiences were invited on a musical space voyage to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. The format was a mix of orchestral music, kids’ programmes on big screens and CBeebies...

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Prom 2, Bell, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Hrůša review – Bohemian rhapsody, and refinement

Eighty years ago this summer, Neville Chamberlain’s indifference to the peoples of Czechoslovakia – “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing” – reaped its harvest of total war. These days, we have no excuses for not...

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Prom 1, BBCSO, Canellakis review - space-age First Night

A new commission, a Romantic tone poem and a choral spectacular – standard fare for the First Night of the Proms. Traditionally, the First Night sets out the themes for the season ahead, but the rationale behind much of this programme was paper-thin...

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