wed 17/07/2024

Royal Albert Hall

First Night of the Proms, BBCSO, Stasevska review - fire and elan mark an evening celebrating freedom

Even before the Just Stop Oil protesters hit the stage after the interval, this was destined to be one of the most politically charged Proms the Royal Albert Hall has witnessed for a while. The rousing cheer that greeted the BBC Singers was...

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National Youth Choir, Royal Albert Hall review – a spectacular jubilee

The recently re-branded National Youth Choir was founded in 1983 as a single choir of about 100 voices, and in those 40 years has grown to be a family of four, ranging from the nine-year-olds at the bottom of the boys’ and girls’ choirs to the 25-...

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A hair-raising season: conductors at the 2022 BBC Proms

Flying manes and flashing eyes are part of the inspirational package. We may laugh at some of these dramatic images, but it's usually a sign of the conductor's commitment to his or her orchestra and audience. There's no doubt that the Royal Albert...

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BBC Proms 2022 - silence after Mass

So John Eliot Gardiner’s fire- and-air way with Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis turned out to be the last night of the Proms. Just as I was about to cycle to the Royal Albert Hall for the first of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s two Proms the following...

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Prom 69, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Monteverdi Choir, ORR, Gardiner review - shock, fervour and total focus

Back in 1990, John Eliot Gardiner with his Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and world-class singers set the South Bank alight with revelatory concert performances of Mozart’s Idomeneo and La clemenza di Tito. Now he's done it again for an...

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Prom 64, Beethoven's Last Three Piano Sonatas, Schiff review - morning glory

In more ways than one, Beethoven’s last piano sonatas can make the listener lose track of time. It’s not just the delirious freedom with rhythm, accents, signatures and note-values that the ageing, afflicted composer of Op. 109, 110 and 111...

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Prom 62, Mahler's Seventh Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Petrenko review - hallucinogenic night's journey into day

Match the most multi-timbred, flexible orchestra in the world with the iridescent peak of symphonic mastery, and you have an assured winner of a Prom. Yet not even Kirill Petrenko’s previous London performance of Mahler’s Seventh with the Bavarian...

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Prom 61, Cabell, Chineke! Voices and Orchestra, Edusei review - a thrilling, fiercely rational Beethoven 9

Last night’s riveting, meticulous account of Beethoven’s Ninth from the Chineke! Orchestra was as daring in its restraint as it was thrillingly revelatory. Right from the subtle shimmer of the first movement’s opening cascades it was clear that this...

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First Person: Geoffrey Paterson on conducting the London Sinfonietta and working with Marius Neset

By my count, tomorrow’s Proms première of Marius Neset’s jazz epic Geyser will be my 51st performance conducting the London Sinfonietta. It’s a tally that has crept up over the last decade, and is something I could hardly have dreamed of more than...

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Prom 59, The Dream of Gerontius, Clayton, Barton, Platt, LPO, Gardner review - most sure in all its ways

Asked which work suits capricious Albert Hall acoustics best, I’d say Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, partly due to the choral billows – this year there’s been an extra thrill about massed choirs – but also because the Kensington colosseum...

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Prom 57, Bach Mass in B Minor, OAE, Butt review - passion and precision

A strong team of musical chefs can blend and spice Bach’s mighty Mass in B Minor in a variety of different ways, and still prepare a feast to savour. We don’t know exactly why Bach felt compelled to bundle his decades of genius into this late...

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Prom 52, Kuusisto, Finnish RSO, Collon review - fairytales, folksongs and a soaring lark

Schoolteachers know – even if only the very best can put it into practice – that faced with a noisy classroom you shouldn’t raise your voice, but rather speak quietly. Over recent Proms seasons audience coughing has reached extreme levels, so the...

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