This is a Journal entry by h5ringer

Proms 2009

Post 1

h5ringer

smiley - bubblyWe're off! Friday saw the start of the 115th season of BBC Promenade concerts, beginning of course with the traditional First Night of the Proms. I say traditional but there is no 'formula' for this event, unlike the second half of the Last Night in September, which seems to far away at the moment but which doubtless will race up on us with alarming speed. I started listening to this concert on Radio 3, before switching to BBC TV at the first interval - the TV broadcast spent the evening in catch-up mode.

Played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under its conductor Jirí Belohlávek, the concert kicked off with Stravinsky's early piece 'Fireworks'. Written in 1908 as an intended wedding present for Rimsky-Korsakov's daughter, Nadezhda, it never reached her. Stravinsky sent the score to her father, who died before it could be delivered to him; this was its first performance at the Proms. It was followed by another work receiving its first Prom performance: Chabrier's 'Ode à la musique', beautifully sung by soprano Ailish Tynan and the women of the BBC Symphony Chorus. The first section was completed by Stephen Hough playing what is now called Tchaikovsky's Third Piano Concerto – his final composition. In reality it comprises only a first movement with a substantial cadenza, and is derived from an abandoned symphony; an alternative title such as 'Allegro brillante for Piano and Orchestra' might be a better description. Although technically challenging, it is nowhere near the stature of his two previous concertos for the instrument.

The centre section of the concert brought a second piano on stage for Katia and Marielle Labèque to play Poulenc's 'Concerto for Two Pianos'. This was a joy to watch and hear. The two sisters played with their trademark synchronicity, and even gave us an encore – 4 hands on one piano. Marvellous.

After the second interval, there were three works: Elgar's symphonic tone poem 'In the South (Alassio)', the Brahms 'Alto Rhapsody' and Bruckner's setting of Psalm 150. All three were finely executed. For the Brahms 'Alto Rhapsody', it was the turn of the men of the BBC Symphony Chorus, together with the mezzo-soprano Alice Coote. Finally the whole chorus rejoined, together with Ailish Tynan, to sing Bruckner's 'Psalm 150', a fitting conclusion to what had been a very long concert and the start of what promises to be an exciting Prom season.

More soon.


Proms 2009

Post 2

h5ringer

Sooner than I expected. I forgot to mention that post-concert there has been a lot of criticism of TV-broadcast host Clive Anderson. I have to agree with them. For those who thought Howard Goodall was irritating...well, come back Howard smiley - erm


Proms 2009

Post 3

AlsoRan80



Hi my dear music-lover friend.

Well I listened to the first night at the Proms on the TV, and not having been to a live concert since we met at the the Barbican, I loved it. I really knew none of the works, except for the Tchaikovsky which I have heard before 0- "don't know where - don;t know when "!!

Strange but I like Clive Anderson. He does keep a programme together and it is important in something as big as the PROMS, to have someone who knows how to keep the whole jolly lot together, and not to get fazed by the obvious changes in the programme which were being made. At least that is what I thought. I am so glad to see those two sisters names together, i could not hear their names, but my goodness it was played Forissimo throughout and molto allegro. I must admit I thought that silly woman who called the Poulenc composition "kitsch" had a nerve.

I used to love reading Bernard Shaw's critiques on music. There is a whole book published on them. I believe that was his first job. I liked the piano conerto of Hough - again I did not know him, so am pleased to see his name written down. but although it was well performed, do I really want to hear him play all four concertos? I would like it if some other !nations! came into the picture. But perhaps they are going to make it an all British occasion.
the choirs were out of this world. Unfortunately I fell asleep and never heard one of the compositions after the interval but I think I wqoke up when lots of voices were singing together so that must have been both the BBC male chos and female shors singing together. It really was perfedtion.

Nice to hear your review. Very well done my friend. You should be writing it for a news paper. You are so knowledgeable.

Go well,

Christiane.


Proms 2009

Post 4

h5ringer

Hello Christiane smiley - cheerup Nice to hear from you again.

So glad you enjoyed the Prom on Friday, at least until you fell asleep smiley - laugh This season really does promise to be a really good one with lots of interesting new approaches and some lesser-known material being presented, as well as the standard fare.

Monday will be a star evening, with Bernard Haitink conducting the LSO in Mahler 9. It starts at 7pm on Radio 3 if you want to listen it. I plan to report on that concert here on Tuesday.

Yes Shaw did start in London writing (among other things) music criticisms, although the majority (and indeed the quality) writings on music are from the period 1888-1894.

Take care Christiane and keep listening smiley - cake


Proms 2009

Post 5

AlsoRan80

Thank you soooo much.

What a feast. I shall do my best to stay awake. I always listen to either Radio 3 or 4. This time it will be Radio 3. I wish they would televise it.

Thank you for letting me know.

Christiane.


Proms 2009

Post 6

h5ringer

Monday, 20 July
Mahler: Symphony 9
London Symphony Orchestra cond. Bernard Haitink

It was in the summer of 1909 that Mahler started the composition of his Ninth Symphony. It was in June 1969 that Bernard Haitink recorded the symphony as part of his first complete cycle of Mahler's symphonies with the Concertgebouw Orchestra for the Philips record label. This was the first recorded Mahler cycle that I purchased on LP, a boxed set of 16 records that cost a substantial amount of money at the time. Haitink was then aged 40; now aged 80, and with half a lifetime's experience of this magnificent work to call on, on Monday evening he again performed Mahler last completed symphony, this time with the London Symphony Orchestra. Great orchestras respond to great conductors in great works, and this Prom gave us all three.
I was interested to compare Haitink's performances, then and now. In each of the four movements he is a little slower today - significantly so in the third movement, the Rondo Burlesque - and it was here that a couple of times last night I felt I would have preferred a shade more foot on the gas pedal.

Nowadays, Haitink's performances of these symphonies are heard from the perspective of an overall structure, not only of the individual symphony, but also its place in the complete cycle of Mahler's work. Incidentally, this same view has been apparent in Valery Gergiev's readings of these symphonies in performances given over the last couple of years or so at the Barbican, again with the LSO.

Although the Ninth is symmetrical in structure, it is the last movement Adagio that is the raison d'etre for this work, and on this basis last night's performance could not and should not be faulted. For the closing pages, 6,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall held their breath, and continued to do so for ten seconds after the final, barely-audible D flat major chord. This was a Prom to be treasured. I have recorded it and will doubtless return to it many times in the future.

Footnote: I still possess the LP boxed set, but have also purchased subsequently the CD release of the same recordings.


Proms 2009

Post 7

AlsoRan80

Oh my dear Barbican friend,

I just missed a day! I was going to tune in this evening. I am heartbroken. and here was I thinking that my brain exercises were helping me. !!

However, your wonderful account makes me determined to see if I can hear another repeat performance of it. they repeated the concert last week on the radio. Now I must find out when it is.

Thank you for a wonderful critique.

Christiane.


Proms 2009

Post 8

h5ringer

Christiane, you can listen to it online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lqycv but it's only available for the next few days, so be quick smiley - run


Proms 2009

Post 9

AlsoRan80

Thank you so much my Barbican friend.
I am awake and up vey early. but am frightened of waking up my son so will have to listen to it later.

thank you so much.

Christiane.


Proms 2009

Post 10

h5ringer

Wednesday, 22 July
800th Anniversary of Cambridge University
BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Sir Andrew Davis

This Prom commemorated the year 1209, significant as being the year in which a site of teaching and study began in the flat, marshy fenlands of Cambridgeshire. Over two centuries later, in 1464, the first documented Bachelor of Music degree was awarded to Henry Abyngdon. Last night's concert was a celebration of staff and students, past and present, at the various Cambridge colleges that have contributed to the wealth of music that we know and love today. Among the 6,000-strong audience was HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, also a former Cambridge student.

Cambridge is world-famous musically in particular for its choral tradition – who has not listened to at least one Christmas Eve broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College, an event that began in 1918 and has been broadcast continually since 1928 with the exception of only one year (1930). The elite of Cambridge's present choirs demonstrated the heights to which it has scaled. Sir Andrew Davis, himself a former Organ Scholar of King's College, conducted most of the pieces heard, except for two items in the second half when the choirs of St John's and King's colleges were conducted by their respective Directors of Music, Andrew Nethsingha and Stephen Cleobury.

What better way to start a concert than with an overture, and one exactly 100 years old. Ralph Vaughan Williams overture 'The Wasps' was written for the 1909 Cambridge University production of Aristophanes’ play of that name. It is a well-known piece, but none the worse for hearing again all the same. As a student at King's College, one of RVW's teachers was Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, whose music was represented in the second half of the Prom.

Before the other Vaughan Williams work in this concert, we heard the World première of a new BBC-commissioned piece ' The Genesis of Secrecy' by the 30 year-old composer/conductor Ryan Wigglesworth. Although a graduate of Oxford *said in a hushed tone*, he is a Lecturer in Music at Cambridge and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. Although this short (10 mins) piece does not quote directly from others' music, the composer acknowledges that ideas were used as a framework that during the process of the work's composition was gradually hidden away.

The first part of the concert concluded with a performance of Vaughan Williams ' Five Mystical Songs'. It was a pleasure to hear these songs for baritone and chorus complete: so often one only hears the popular final song, ‘Antiphon’, a setting of ‘Let all the world in every corner sing’, with its glorious choral writing, sung on this occasion by choirs from combined Cambridge colleges. The baritone, Simon Keenlyside, is, not surprisingly, a Cambridge graduate; not as you might have expected though, a student of music, but rather of zoology.

It must be something of a record that a work by Vaughan Williams' teacher Charles Villiers Stanford, 'Magnificat and Nunc dimittis', written in 1880, should have to wait 129 years for a first performance at the Proms! It was given by the choirs of Clare, Gonville and Caius, and Trinity colleges. Stanford belongs to that group of Victorian establishment composers who have sadly been out of fashion now since the end of WWII. With music of this quality it is surely time for a revival of their work.

The Stanford piece was followed by two pieces from present-day former students of Cambridge University, both receiving their first outing at the Proms. The first was Jonathan Harvey's 'Come, Holy Ghost', sung by the choirs of King’s and St John’s colleges, conducted by St John's Director Music, Andrew Nethsingha. Beginning with a plainsong chant that sounds as though it could have been familiar to Machaut in the 14th Century, the composer takes us through 1,000 years of part-writing techniques in a mere seven minutes. The second of these two pieces 'Ascending into Heaven' was by King's College alumnus Judith Weir, Britain's leading female composer. This piece for choirs with organ, has the organ part set in its highest registers for much of the time. Technically, it uses a melodic sequence in which the interval between each note and its successor is alternately a semitone then a whole tone.‘ As an illustration of the title,’ Weir notes, ‘the music (especially the organ part) ascends frequently.’

The connectivity of the final work in this Cambridge-themed Prom was in all honesty a little contrived: Saint-Saëns' Third Symphony, 'The Organ Symphony'. The only link is the fact that the composer was awarded an Honorary Degree by the university in 1893. However it did give us an opportunity to heard the restored Royal Albert Hall organ at full-tilt; it really does sound magnificent. The organ part was played by Thomas Trotter, who like the conductor Andrew Davis, was also a King's College Organ Scholar. Davis described how in his earlier days he had not only played the organ part in this symphony, but had conducted the orchestra from the organ console, something he said he would not do (or be allowed to do) today – it was simply too dangerous.

So ended another long Prom – 2.5 hours with a 20-minute interval - but with three first-Prom performances included, well worth it.

smiley - musicalnotesmiley - musicalnotesmiley - musicalnotesmiley - musicalnote


Proms 2009

Post 11

AlsoRan80

Hi my Barbican friend,

Thank you again for such a inspiring and wonderful account of the concert,

You deserve a medal. !!

You mention Vaughan willisms. My mother, when she was playing with the Cape Town orchestra before she was married, gave the first performance in South Africa of "The Lark Ascending", A lovely work written for the violin and orchestra. It really does make me seem think and experience the joy of seeing the lark in flight.

She also toured South Africa with Anna Pavlova. when toured - I think it was 1924. playing in the quartet which accompanied that great ballerina. You really help me to enjoy the wonderful concerts with which we are so blessed in England.

With great appreciation,

Christiane.


Proms 2009

Post 12

h5ringer

Thursday, 23 July
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Vassily Sinaisky

I only had chance to listen to the first half of this concert, but in some respects it was the more interesting half. That is not in any way a criticism of the second half item: Elgar's 2nd Symphony, played to commemorate the 75th anniversary year of Elgar's death in 1934. This symphony, rather less heard than the popular First Symphony, is a fine work, but not (yet) having heard the broadcast, I am obviously unable to comment further on it.

So to return to the first half. Two works, one getting its first Prom performance and the other almost so. The 'Symphony in G minor' by EJ Moeran had been performed at a Prom once before, in 1938, shortly after its completion. However that was in the days when the Proms were held at the Queen's Hall in Langham Place. The hall was destroyed by an incendiary bomb in 1941, after which the Proms moved to their present home, the Royal Albert Hall. Thus last night, the symphony received its first Royal Albert Hall Prom performance. The real first Prom début was reserved for the second work in the half, Gerald Finzi's 'Grand Fantasia and Toccata' for piano and orchestra, the piano played by Leon McCawley, the winner of the piano section at the 1990 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.

Moeran's rather neglected symphony deserves to be better known – a number of recordings of it are available in the CD catalogue. Started in 1924, it did not materialise until 1937. Although not programmatic, a substantial amount of the symphony was said to be inspired by the countryside of Ireland's County Kerry, while the second movement owes its origins to the sand-dunes and marshes of East Norfolk, where Moeran grew up as a boy. In four movements, the first and third are upbeat with some lovely melodic invention, the second movement is darker in tone. The final movement bears an obvious allegiance to Sibelius, in particular the concluding six chords from the orchestra, exactly mirroring those at the end of Sibelius' Fifth Symphony. Nonetheless this is music that should be heard more often.

Best known for his Clarinet Concerto, Gerald Finzi wrote few purely instrumental works. The 'Grand Fantasia and Toccata' is believed to originate – the Fantasia - from 1928 as one movement of a piano concerto that never materialised; it was revised in 1953 when the Toccata was added. The word Toccata comes from the Italian verb 'toccare' meaning 'to touch'. Musically it almost always refers to a keyboard piece in which the skill of the performer (his/her touch) is demonstrated in a fast-fingered but delicate composition. Obviously a technical challenge for the pianist, it also provided an exciting listening challenge for the audience.


Proms 2009

Post 13

h5ringer

Saturday, 25 July
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Sir Charles Mackerras

A programme of 'English' music, by three composers (Elgar, Delius and Holst) who all died 75 years ago in 1934. The BBC Philharmonic, making their second appearance at the Proms in three days, were conducted by that most English of conductors, Sir Charles Mackerras, now in his 84th year, associated for so long with Sadler's Wells Opera – now English National Opera. Isn't it funny how we define 'English'; Elgar – the very epitome of Edwardian England; Delius – Bradford-born to German parents but who from the age of 22 lived in Florida, Germany and, for most of his life, France; Holst – originally Gustavus von Holst of Latvian/Swedish extraction; and Charles Mackerras – an Australian born in New York.

The orchestra had certainly dressed for the occasion: the men in their white DJs, the ladies in their black evening dresses. The concert opened with Elgar's affectionate portrait of an idealised London: the Overture 'Cockaigne'. The texture of this music in the wrong hands can be very dense, but in Sir Charles' hands it was a model of clarity. Sir Charles stood at the podium, resting occasionally on his high rehearsal chair, as appropriate for a man of his years; but was I mistaken, was he really chewing gum all evening or was it just a facial mannerism – the latter I hope.

The Delius component of the concert was 'The Song of High Hills', a 30-minute work that had the authentic Delius sound right from the first bar. I had not heard this piece before and in general, apart from the well-known pieces: 'In a Summer Garden', 'Brigg Fair', 'Florida Suite' etc., I have not had much to do with this composer other than reading Eric Fenby's writings on Delius. Perhaps it is time I rectified this shortfall. The high hills referred to in this piece are the mountains of Norway. It is written for a large orchestra, chorus, tenor and soprano voices. Delius uses the singers and chorus as a wordless 'vox humana' in much the same way as Holst does in 'The Planets' (that followed after the interval) and Vaughan Williams did in the first and last movements of his 'Sinfonia Antartica', to represent the icy wastes. My criticism of the work is that it is a big consumer of resources; the orchestra includes two harps, celesta and three timpanists as well as the chorus and soloists. It also has writing for a comparative stranger to the symphony orchestra: the bass oboe. In my view, the soloists added nothing that could not have been achieved by the chorus alone. Such lack of economy does not facilitate it being a regular part of the repertoire, which is a shame because this is a good work.

The second half of the concert was taken up with Holst's popular suite 'The Planets'. Since this music is so familiar, I decided to try out a feature new this year to the BBC's televising of the Proms: 'MaestroCam'. This is available via the digital TV feed by pressing the red button during transmission. It gives you a permanent picture-in-picture view of the conductor, together with an audio commentary about his technique and his interpretation of the score. The commentary can also be turned off if you prefer, leaving just the music and the P-in-P view. Sir Charles in renowned for his meticulous tempo beat and his lack of platform theatricality. What I saw was as good a masterclass in conducting as you'll ever get for free. I was able to follow an online score, while watching him, hearing the music and listening to the commentary all at the same time – the commentary is not continuous, just where it's appropriate. A good additional feature from the BBC, although I would only want to use it with pieces with which I am totally familiar, and with a conductor like Sir Charles, from whom one could learn so much immediately just by watching. And the performance of 'The Planets'? Like the Elgar, a model of clarity and Sir Charles' control of his orchestra was exemplary – relaxed but ever-present. A great concert.


Proms 2009

Post 14

h5ringer

Sunday, 26 July
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC Symphony Chorus cond. David Atherton

This Prom rounded off a weekend of concerts featuring the music of the three British composers who all died in 1934: Elgar, Holst and Delius. The second half gave us the familiar works Delius' 'Brigg Fair' and Elgar's 'Enigma Variations'. However it was the first half of this concert that drew my attention, with yet another first Prom performance, this time of Gustav Holst's 'Choral Symphony'. I have heard this work in performance once before, although I cannot now remember where; I would have said at the Proms, but clearly that cannot have been the case.

The work, a Prelude and four movements for orchestra, chorus and soprano soloist, sets lines from various poems by Keats. For this concert, the soprano role was sung by the winner of the 1994 Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize, Susan Gritton. Holst's symphony was written for and first performed at the 1925 Leeds Festival, where it achieved a degree of success; a second performance in London shortly after however was a failure and the work languished thereafter. Even almost 10 years later, Edwin Evans, writing a memoriam to Holst in the July 1934 issue of The Musical Times, said of the Choral Symphony "In the greater part of the Choral Symphony Holst was painting the lily. Some of the painting is very beautiful, but the lily is better without it." His principal gripe seems to have been that the poetic beauty of Keats' words were not in his view matched by the musical beauty of Holst's setting of them. Today we are able to take a different view.

The opening Prelude – Invocation to Pan – is intoned by the chorus on a monotone after a hushed orchestral introduction. In the first movement proper, the soprano and chorus alternate sections with lines relating to Bacchus. The second movement, for the chorus, is a setting of Keats' famous 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' - 'Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness'. The quicksilver third movement is a Scherzo with a contrasting central Trio, but the return of the Scherzo after the Trio is given to the soprano soloist rather than the chorus. Like the first movement, the larger-scaled final movement alternates sections between the chorus and the soprano who opens and closes the movement.

Choral Societies up and down the country should be seeking out copies of this score for performance.


Proms 2009

Post 15

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

Am so glad my response to your meet-text-greeting was after the concert. I was thinking about you watching The Planets after I saw it advertised, for Saturday night and knew I'd miss it but at least there's iPlayersmiley - ok

Glad you enjoyed the MaestroCam - another new word to add to my vocabulary(smiley - laugh)


Proms 2009

Post 16

h5ringer

Thursday, 30 July
Hallé Orchestra, Hallé Choir and Youth Choir cond. Sir Mark Elder

It is now almost 10 years since Mark Elder was appointed as Musical Director of Manchester's Hallé Orchestra, in which time he has been a considerable contributor to the recovery of the orchestra from its difficulties in the 1990s. It is now once again a body of musicians to rival any other orchestra, and, as it showed on Thursday night, at the top of its game in the choral field as well.

Like football, this was a concert of two halves – Berlioz in the first half, followed by Mendelssohn in the second. The orchestra kicked off the first half with the overture to Berlioz' s opera 'Benvenuto Cellini', a standard repertoire piece. The second item in the half was the composer's dramatic cantata ' La mort de Cléopâtre' - 'The Death of Cleopatra', sung, and indeed one may almost say acted, by the American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. The odd genesis of this work is worth recounting here. Written in 1829, it was Berlioz's fourth attempt to win the Paris Conservatoire's Prix de Rome, a prize of considerable merit and a valuable one to boot. However the odd conditions of the Prix were that after an initial round in which the competitors each had to write a Fugue, those that satisfied the judging panel (which Berlioz did not at his first attempt) proceeded to the next stage. These were then locked in their rooms for 22 hours a day and had three weeks in which to write a cantata to a given text, usually a dramatic death from history. Having come second in the previous year's competition, Berlioz was confident of winning and produced this emotional precipice from which Cleopatra must inevitably fall. However the composer's confidence did not take account of the arch-traditionalism of the panel, and once again he was unsuccessful in winning – he finally achieved his goal the following year. Had Berlioz adhered to the conventional pattern that the judges were clearly looking for, we would have been deprived of a magnificent work for female voice and orchestra. The ending in which Cleopatra's death-throes are portrayed as a shudder in the orchestra is as clear a picture as though it was painted.

The second half was given over to a performance of Mendelssohn's Second Symphony 'Lobgesang'. This infrequently performed work, with its requirements for a full symphony orchestra, a 200-strong chorus, soprano, mezzo-soprano and tenor soloists, and an organ is ideally suited to a venue like the Royal Albert Hall. The combined forces of the Hallé's orchestra, choir and youth choir under Mark Elder's direction did full justice to the hour-long piece. It is in three movements, played without a break. The first two movements are for the orchestra alone, the organ and choruses being brought in for the final movement. It was written in 1840 for the celebrations held for the 400th anniversary of Gutenburg's invention of moveable-type. However unless you are told that fact, there is nothing in the work itself to suggest so – no mention of Gutenburg, books or printing! Generally in alternating sections for the choruses and combinations of the soloists, it draws on words from the Bible and from the Psalms in particular. It includes the Lutheran Chorale 'Nun danket alle Gott'.

The performance was a fitting tribute to the work of James Burton, the Hallé's Choral Director, whose final task with the chorus this concert was.


Proms 2009

Post 17

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

(I did enjoy the Prom last nightsmiley - ok)


Proms 2009

Post 18

AlsoRan80

So glad you did GB

It reminded me of so many happy days in Southern Rhodesia which is p[robably where I saw all the musicals. .

we also had a visit from two climbers of Sir Edmund Hilary's expeditions to conquer Everest and afterwards they toured the Commonwealth and came to Salisbury.

I queued from 4 a.m. to get a ticket which cost me £10.00 a sixth of my husband's monthly salasry.!! I went by myself. But all my life I had loved reading about Everest. I had read Mallory's book when I was a little girl. I think they went to Everest first the year I was born 1928 !!

Have a good weekend.
With much affection and a big smiley - hug

Christiane.


Proms 2009

Post 19

h5ringer

Friday, 31 July
Scottish Chamber Orchestra cond. Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Making his Proms début here was the young Quebecian conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a protégé of the late conductor Carlo Maria Giulini. At the start of the 2008-9 season he took over from maestro Valery Gergiev as Musical Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and has also been appointed recently Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The first half of the concert provided the main item of interest: a full performance of the music for Stravinsky's 1920 ballet 'Pulcinella'; normally we only hear the eight-movement Suite that the composer produced subsequently for concert performance. The full ballet is in 20 sections, some of which involve a soprano, a tenor and a bass soloist, singly or in combination. Pulcinella is a stock character from the Commedia dell'arte (I must remember to finish that Entry I started some time ago on this form of theatre) and shares a common ancestry with our own beloved puppet character Punch. The music is based on a set of pieces believed (at the time) to be by the early-18th Century composer Pergolesi, but in many cases the attribution is now considered spurious. Stravinsky adhered to the melodies of these pieces, but re-interpreted them by writing in a modern neo-classical style, in much the same way as Prokofiev did in his First Symphony - 'The Classical'. As well as the three singers, this work also showcases the orchestra's string sections' principals. The conductor clearly communicated well with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, resulting in an impressive performance of this delightful music.

The second half of the concert featured the American pianist, Nicholas Angelich, playing the Schumann Piano Concerto and concluded with Mendelssohn's 'Reformation' symphony.


Proms 2009

Post 20

AlsoRan80

|Hi H5ringer.

My goodness your knowledge is superb.

My brother in law phoned me up to remind me about the concert and to particularly spoke about the Schumann piano concerto.

I think that the Halle Orchestra came out to Zimbabwe in 1953 for the Festival which was held in Bulawayo. I remember motoring down from Salisbury in order to go to the two or three concerts which they gave and being absolutely thrilled. Classical orchestral music in darkest Africa. !! Wonderful.

I slept blissfully through the first two items, but fortunately woke up for the third, which you say was Mendelssohs's Reformation Symphony. I am so glad that I now have a full account of the concert. !

No, I shall own up to my brother in law to sleeping through the first twoitems. But I did enjoy the Mendelssohn. I do not think I knew it, but it did sound good and they played beautifully. I also liked the conductor. !!

Oh my goodness, when I think that I studied music for all those years and I have forgotten so much about it. However, I am hoping that I shall remember some things as my brain exercises take effect, I really think they are.

thank you again for your so professional critique of the concert, I suppose you did not listen to last night,. !!!! Funnily enough I did not sleep through one of the items. I suppose that you did not listen to it, but the soloists had lovely voices and the music I did recognise. All those wonderful musicals of the '50's and '60's. You would not remember them I am sure. !!

I believe that some of our "classical" composers started life as composers of "light" opera, but for the life of me I cannot remember who they were. I wonder if you do. ?

With warm greetings,

Christiane. !


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