wed 30/11/2022

Proms

Prom 39, Hartwig, BBCSO, Oramo review - bright and breezy followed by a curate's egg

Two quirky concertos – one for orchestra, though it might also be called a sinfonietta – and a big symphony: best of British but, more important, international and world class. Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra sounded glorious throughout...

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Prom 35, Wang, Oslo Philharmonic, Mäkelä review - crystalline fantasy and levitational brilliance

Klaus Mäkelä, 26-year old chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris, lined up for the same role at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2027, knows exactly where he’s going: a crucial asset in the idiosyncratic ebb and flow of...

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Prom 34, Soltani, BBC Philharmonic, Ollikainen review - journeys into inner worlds

Proper music tells stories just about itself, the stern pedagogues insist; it doesn’t (or anyway shouldn’t) paint descriptive pictures of places and people. Well, maybe not – but it was hard to banish all thoughts of geography, even of biography, at...

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Prom 31, Alder, Ulster Orchestra, Rustioni review - a summer night's dream

The Ulster Orchestra’s Prom finished early to accommodate a late-night concert by the esteemed Tredegar Band – but by then, we’d already enjoyed one spectacular brass showcase. Under its justly-praised chief conductor Daniele Rustioni (formerly...

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Prom 13, The Wreckers, Glyndebourne review - an overloaded ship steered with pride

Uncut, lovingly restored, and with two intervals in the antique manner, Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers invites its audience to embark on an epic voyage as well as a momentous one. This summer’s Glyndebourne Festival visit to the Proms brought us the...

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Prom 7, Dido and Aeneas, La Nuova Musica review - bold and original from the start

How do you celebrate one of epic poetry’s richest female characters, a queen renowned across the Middle East and North Africa for being as politically powerful as she was magnetic? For Nahum Tate, the librettist for Dido and Aeneas, the curious...

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Prom 6, BBC Philharmonic, Davis review - a bracing pair of British symphonies

The ferocity of Tuesday's heat wasn’t reflected in the pleasantly air-conditioned Royal Albert Hall – the coolest I had felt all day – but was in the intense playing of the BBC Philharmonic, in a pair of knotty and urgent British symphonies.The...

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Prom 5, Power, BBC Philharmonic, Mena review - detail and breadth

I had anticipated a sweltering evening at the Albert Hall. Sadly, though, the heatwave prevented me from even getting there – buckled rails or some similar problem led to the cancellation of my train. So this review is of the Radio 3 broadcast,...

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Prom 2, Walker, Sinfonia of London, Wilson review - sensuousness and subtlety in excelsis

Had Claudio Abbado conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in a major Elgar orchestral work – and to my knowledge he never saw the light about the composer’s due place among the European greats – it might have sounded something like last night’s “Enigma”...

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Prom 1, Verdi's Requiem, BBCSO, Oramo review - introspective sorrow and consolation between the blazes

Any sensitive festival planner knows to begin the return to a new normal with something soft and elegiac – reflecting on all we’ve lost and mourned these past two years, as well as what we’re facing in the world now. Just over a fortnight ago, at...

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BBC Proms 2022 preview - big is beautiful again

Remember how, back in the summer of 2020, we all wondered if large-scale symphonies would be back in the repertoire any time soon? I pessimistically predicted a decade of slow orchestral reconstruction.Yet right at the beginning of the 2021-2 season...

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Podium odes to joy: conductors at the 2021 BBC Proms

They must have been especially overjoyed to be back in front of (or with back to the greater part of) a live audience. But inspiring musicians is what conductors are there to do on the night, and what you see in the top image is what we got from the...

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