sat 10/12/2022

Proms

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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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 49, Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony, Connolly, Alder, LSO, Rattle review - a long and grand goodbye

Long goodbyes don’t get grander, warmer or more passionate than this. Sir Simon Rattle began his farewell season with the London Symphony Orchestra with a Proms performance of Mahler’s Second, “Resurrection” Symphony – the mighty work that has...

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Prom 43, Solomon, The English Concert, Jeannin review - a Handelian box of delights

Like many people, I grew up with cut-and-paste Handel. It could take decades before you found out where that shiny snippet of a childhood earworm truly belonged.A full-length Solomon, for instance – as delivered by The English Concert with a luxury...

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Prom 42, Lisiecki, BBC Scottish SO, Dausgaard review - concerto partnership made in heaven

Sibelius or Nielsen symphonies? Last night, with the Finn’s Seventh in the first half and the Dane’s “Inextinguishable” (No. 4) in the second, choice should have been impossible. Francesco Piemontesi or Jan Lisiecki? I’d have been equally happy with...

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Prom 40, Moore, RPO, Petrenko review - orchestral clarity, and a persuasive trombonist

It does need saying: the RPO may receive less frequent plaudits than some of their London peers, but this is a fine and wonderfully responsive orchestra with a distinctive character.The string sections have a natural opulence and warmth in their...

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