BBC Proms

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by michaelab, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. michaelab

    michaelab desafinado

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    Anyone going to any? I've already booked the ones I'm interested in which are:

    21 - The Late Junction prom

    52 - Music: Nielsen Pan and Syrinx; Brahms Violin Concerto in D major; Tchaikovsky Manfred - Artists: Vadim Repin violin; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo conductor

    55 - Music: Bartók Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; György Ligeti Violin Concerto; Stravinsky The Rite of Spring - Artists: Tasmin Little violin; Berliner Philharmoniker; Sir Simon Rattle conductor

    60 - Music: Michael Berkeley Secret Garden; Bridge Oration; Holst The Planets - Artists: Steven Isserlis cello; BBC Singers; BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox conductor

    If anyone else is coming to any of these we should meet up!

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Jun 20, 2003
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  2. michaelab

    badchamp Thermionic Member

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    Several years ago I went to nearly 30 proms but must have "prommed out" and my visits have declined so much that I went to 2 last year and haven't booked any for this year. Maybe I should check 'em out.
     
    badchamp, Jun 20, 2003
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  3. michaelab

    cookiemonster

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    I'm keen on the Late Junction one Michael.

    10.00pm - 2.00am though, so will have to factor in transport.

    I may go to some of the earlier ones, have not checked the full listings thouroughly yet. Though it's getting late, so i'll get on to that. The later ones you mention are out of the question :mad: because i will be on honeymoon :) making my own music:D



    http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/
     
    cookiemonster, Jun 20, 2003
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  4. michaelab

    GrahamN

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    It's only me!!!

    Applied for an arena season ticket, and on a quick count-up reckoned on being at about 45 in total. So I'll be in the queue from about 5:45 fairly frequently.

    Those nos 21, 52 and 55 were pretty near the top of my list too and 1 consider them absolutely mandatory!. Off the top of my head, I also reckoned the Fischer/Budapest (although not the most obvious programme for them), Elder/Halle and Alsop/Bournemouth are pretty much musts.

    There's normally a fair bit of parking available in the roads around the RAH. For a normal day I normally find something at a meter if I get there before say 5:45, which then costs about 2quid (all gone by 6 though).

    If anyone's intending to "promenade" for the LJ one (frankly the only way to go!), I'd guess it will be VERY popular. 2 (3?) years ago I joined the day queue for the Los Van Van concert, at about 20:10, and was probably one of the last 100 to get in. There must have been at least 2000 who didn't make it. Maybe this one's not quite such a draw (I guess the entire London hispanic population was out for that last one). If you are not allergic to Prokofiev/Tchaikovsky it's well worth going to the earlier prom, which gets you a numbered ticket reserving your place in the later queue in front of all those who only turn up to the 2nd. Well worth doing.

    I'll post my recommendations/faves when I have a bit more time.
     
    GrahamN, Jun 20, 2003
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  5. michaelab

    michaelab desafinado

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    Ahh...a true promenader (is that the word?). I'm afraid my tickets are in the, ahem..., posh seats :D

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Jun 20, 2003
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  6. michaelab

    HenryT

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    Same here... :( I'll content myself with listening on the radio I guess, now anyone care to lend me a Magnum Dynalab tuner and Signal Sleuth until mid September?! ;)

    Must check out this year's proms listing though, as haven't done so yet...
     
    HenryT, Jun 23, 2003
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  7. michaelab

    lordsummit moderate mod

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    I love the proms, is the only thing I miss about living up north, would love to be able to buy a season ticket. Will have to do with the radio also.
     
    lordsummit, Jun 23, 2003
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  8. michaelab

    GrahamN

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    Well, it's kick-off on Friday :banana: :banana: :banana:

    Actually. I'm not too botheread about Friday's concert (Tchaik Pf 1 always seems a bit weak after the opening flourish, and some little heard - i.e. probably dreadful - Prokofiev for the 2nd half), but I may go along just to see what all the fuss about the soloist (Lang Lang) is about. I'll see how I feel at 5 on Friday

    Saturday is full of good tunes and famous bits, but I'm probably missing that too, and I'm doing some electric jazz/klezmer stuff on Sunday (Zorn - electric Masada at the Barbican) on Sunday.

    Monday should be really good - Ivan Fischer and Budapest are excellent. Brahms Pf 1 and Rachmaninov 2 are super big romantic pieces, so an absolute must for me (a bit scared the soloist - Hough - may pull it about too much, although this more his period than some bizarre Mozart last year). I'll also do the late night one - good Bach and Stravinsky but I've never heard of the other two composers.

    Tuesday should be excellent for the baroque fiends amonst us - English Concert and AAM with Manze (old boss of AAM, new of EC)

    Wednesday is a must - Haydn and RVW London symphonies - Slatkin is brilliant at RVW.

    Thursday is also a must for me - Strauss "4 last snogs" and Beethoven 5. Never heard Frittoli sing, but she's got a good rep, and Noseda is supposed to be pretty darned good too.

    Friday 25th looks good too. Alsop is supposed to be doing excellent things at Bournemouth, Currie is a great percussionist (although less showy than Evelyn Glennie), and the Bartok Conc for Orch is a great piece. Never been convinced by Tchaik's "Francesca", but we'll see.

    Saturday 26th - Mark Elder and the Halle should be brilliant in Elgar's 1st. Probably not a general recommendation though as the Matthews will probably be fairly tuneless, and mezzo-sop solo may not be to everyone's taste (even if Alice Coote is brilliant). (There's also a kids prom around lunchtime).

    Sunday 27th is an absolute must - Bartok Pf3 with Grimaud (who's an absolute babe, even if I'm not entirely convinced by her playing), and the UK premiere of John Adams' piece written in response to Sept 11th, conducted by the man himself. Haydn's Trauer symphony is also one of my favourite Haydn symphonies, and a reflective/atmospheric piece by Copland to fill things out. Whether Adams' conducting will be up to the pieces not by him remains to be seen. Only problem there is it's also my Mum's birthday - so some negotiation will be required.

    Pretty good start then. The following week looks less interesting though (other than Gardiner/ORR doing Berlioz on Monday, Runnicles conducting Elektra on Tues. - neither really for the uncommitted)

    No doubt more later.
     
    GrahamN, Jul 16, 2003
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  9. michaelab

    michaelab desafinado

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    I'm not back in London until the 28th so I'll be missing all that lot. Couldn't agree more about Tchaik Pf1 - it's absolutely criminal IMO to open with such a great tune and then never repeat it :mad: Lang Lang though is very impressive IMO - got a recording of him doing Rach 3 and Scriabin Etudes. His Rachmaninov is probably my 2nd favourite (after Ashkenazy of course :) )

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Jul 16, 2003
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  10. michaelab

    GrahamN

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    Shame about that Michael - best ones (other than the Elektra and LJ) over the following two weeks are probably:

    5th Aug (no 24) - Susan Gritton is an absolutely excellent Sophie, and Karneus has a wonderful reputation. Need to like operatic singing though.
    7th Aug (no 26) - Volkov is getting a really good reputation BBCSSO really did well under Vanska, Shosta 10 is great, and Schiff is probably the best cellist out there now.

    Surely Argerich is way out in front here! IIRC that Lang Lang Rach was actually recorded at his last proms appearance - I didn't hear it myself, but the reports I got were: technically superb but rather superficial; will probably be excellent after maturing for a few years - or was that just ageist snobbery?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2003
    GrahamN, Jul 16, 2003
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  11. michaelab

    michaelab desafinado

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    I don't have a recording of Argerich doing any of the concertos, only the Suite No.2 for two pianos together with Nelson Freire and that is stunning.

    The Lang Lang / Rach 3 recording I have was the one recorded at the proms. I like it and I don't find it superficial. I think there's quite tendency for 'Western' classicos to collectively dismiss Asian classical musicians as all technique and no feeling.

    Mind you, I like Evgeny Kissin so maybe you don't want to trust my judgement :D

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Jul 17, 2003
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  12. michaelab

    HenryT

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    Been to all the Exeter based Bournemouth concerts this year. Alsop performed performed at 3 of those concerts. IMO, I'd say her afinity seems to be more with 20th centuary, especially 20th centuary American, Mahler and late romantic. Found the Beethoven 5 performance they gave earlier this year to be less inspired, but otherwise I'd say quite pursasive performances in the other concerts. Bartok would seem to be a good choice then, although I've still yet to into get into this piece, in fact, I still find it hard to get into any Bartok. :confused: :)
     
    HenryT, Jul 17, 2003
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  13. michaelab

    GrahamN

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    Michael - you really must hear that Argerich Rach 3. I have it coupled with that very recording of Suite 2, and I'd be hard pressed to choose between them for my Desert Island.

    I decided I had nothing better to do this evening and went along to hear Lang Lang. If I were being charitable I'd say he clearly lived every minute of a very idiosyncratic performance. If being less charitable, it was utterly bizarre, and more Lang Lang than Tchaik - I did have to try hard not to laugh out loud on occasions. I doubt I'll be making any more efforts to see him for a while!

    I don't think your contention of anti-Asian bias is really fair. Easily one of the best soloists last year was Kyoko Takezawa (doing Szymanowski Vln 1), as soulful and intense a performance as you could ask for. And I don't think anyone has ever accused Kyung Wha Chung of lacking feeling, and Yo-Yo Ma certainly used to have an excellent reputation (although he seems to want to be more pop now :rolleyes: ).

    Henry - if you don't like the Concerto of Orchestra, I doubt there's much hope for you really, but try the 3rd Piano Concerto, or Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta for a rather more cool and cerebral piece. If these all draw blanks - give up! (Although you may try his 'Romanian Dances' as a last resort). How about Kodaly?

    [edit]
    Oh, I forgot to say there were a couple of amusing visuals. One of the regulars (who, as do many of them, knows about these things) commented to me as Lang Lang walked on that he looked like he'd just escaped from a gay porn mag :eek: . And the mezzo-sop soloist in the Prokofiev was easily the closest I've seen in real life to Miss Piggy, complete with masses of wavy blonde hair, a very ample and scarcely contained embonpoint, and (as the Times said) "a vibrato as wide as the Volga, and a vast, glittering ballgown to match. No sequin shortage in the new Russia, clearly."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2003
    GrahamN, Jul 18, 2003
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  14. michaelab

    Herman

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    Hi,

    this is my first post here. How can I resist a place that has a seperate Classical Room?

    However I'm curious how the Thursday night prom turned out, in case anyone on this board actually went. On the radio the MacMillan piece sounded pretty dire, but I could imagine it was much better in the hall. These drumrolls usually work very well if you can see them.

    I was completely prepared to switch off the Beethoven 5; but actually it was a quite engaging performance, wasn't it?

    Herman
     
    Herman, Jul 24, 2003
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  15. michaelab

    michaelab desafinado

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    Welcome to the forum Herman! Unfortunately I was unable to hear tonight's prom - small snag of being in Portugal (where the only Radio 3 access is over the net at low bandwidth :( )

    Anyway, will be going to a few next week when I'm in London.

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Jul 24, 2003
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  16. michaelab

    GrahamN

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    Welcome Herman - I saw you join a week or so ago and wondered when you would post.

    Yep - was in the hall for this (down the front as usual) - and actually ended up rather disappointed.

    The Macmillan? Not really sure aboiut his music, normally see the point (unlike say George Benjamin or Julian Anderson - where there's nothing memorable at all), but never really get involved by it. Liked the japanese flavoured start and end, and the bit of echt-Sibelius in the middle, and some of the sonic effects. The percussion section was of course visually fun (although far from extravagant in todays terms) - IIRC there were about 4 different 'phones and 'spiels, sets of tuned temple gongs, gourdy things (to use the technical term ;) ) and roto-toms, a couple of hammers from the local hardware store for hitting some metal bars, a metal thunder-sheet and tam-tam, and a couple of steel drums. But I doubt whether I'd remember any of the rest of it if I heard it again (can't remember it even now). Aparrently the piece of his to heard is the 'Cello Concerto - I must check it out some time.

    The Beethoven? I generally felt it was too fast for the orchestra, who played as if posessed and seemed to be really enjoying themselves, but there was no space for e.g. crispness or bite to the accents - everything was just steamrollered through (particularly the outer movements). The other thing that was really noticeable in the hall was the very bad brass (and particularly trumpet) balance - far too much when just accompanying and frequently too little when they did have the tune. (There seemed to be a complete woodwind collapse at the end of the scherzo too). Much preferred Gatti with the RPO a month or two ago.

    And the piece I really went for - the Strauss. Again, seemed perfectly adequate, but not really moving (except for the last line of Im Abendrot which really sent a shiver down the spine - but if that fails then there really is something wrong). Orchestra seemed fine, but I wasn't really convinced by Frittoli. Again, I hope the radio balance was better than in the hall, but here she was frequently drowned by the orchestra. She also had too wide a vibrato and insufficiently rich/silky tone for this piece. According to the programme notes she's mostly sung Mozart, for which I think she'd probably be better suited. Still I suppose it's tough competing with the home collection of Janowitz, Norman, Fleming in their prime (and I give Isokoski as spin too from time to time for a rather lighter view).

    Overall - a bit of a shame, as I've heard some pretty good concerts by the BBC Phil, and Noseda has an excellent reputation. Maybe I'm just getting spoilt by the LSO and some of the top-class orchestras visiting London this past year. (I had a very similar reaction to yesterday's main concert - the BBCSO were much better than on Friday, but e.g. the Vaughan Williams still didn't really have much life or depth - I expected much better)

    The really enjoyable concerts this last week have actually been the ones I went to more through duty/off-chance than intent. In Monday's late-nighter the Northern Sinfonia were excellent - I guess the Toon boys won't be reading this old-fogey music thread, but they have an super band in Gateshead. Marvellous Bach Vln/Oboe (BWV 1060) and Stravinsky Apollon Musagete (although maybe more neo-romantic than neo-classical), very interesting new piece by Philip Cashian - and a stunning display by Heinz Holliger of some Berio (hated the music, but bowled over by the performance).

    The AAM/EC concert was also absolutely wonderful. An orchestra of 50+ period instruments (combined forces of both groups, + a students orchestra from the Royal Academy) make a fantastic noise, and the Corelli was knock-out. Even that though was well eclipsed by the Handel Dixit Dominus - and that choir was superb. (Still can't see the point of those florid baroque arias as in Handel's Silete Venti Handel though - couple of minutes a line, and then the whole thing again in case you missed it first time :rolleyes: )

    And last night's late nighter - Mendelssohn's Antigone, incidental music + semi-staged snippets of the play - was really fun. OK, not the most profound music, but it really fitted the occasion, and the small orchestra and male-voice choir made a far bigger sound than they had any right to. There were some top notch Shakespearian actors for the play too. Well worth the backache!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2003
    GrahamN, Jul 25, 2003
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  17. michaelab

    Herman

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    march-o-mania

    Thanks for the welcome. I have a terrible confession to make about last night, and the Strauss songs. At the start of 'Beim Schlafgengehen' I got up and switched to the Norman / Masur recording. I deserve to be shot for this (out on my second post), but there was something missing (of course I'm talking about a heavily compressed readio broadcast). The singer wasn't totally right (the BBC obviously corrected the balance), but the orchestra didn't quite make it in this luxuriant score.

    It's ironic that Noseda says in advance he wants to perform a Fifth like you're hearing it for the first time, and then it turns out you heard it only last month, performed by a better band. Beethoven conductors these days are always talking about letting us hear the urgency of the music. But perhaps what they're really talking about is the urgency they feel to perform a more exciting Beethoven than the boys next door. So the Noseda was a kind of March-o-Mania, which is an entirely valid take. I don't even like the Fifth and I kept listening. But it's just a take.

    The Holliger Prom, Monday night, was great. A wonderful mix of works that are all entirely doable for any decent orchestra, and surely it must have been a thrill to work with Holliger who is one of the greatest musicians of the past decades (while piano and violin stars come and go). I love the Stravinsky Apollo: if you add the Balanchine choreography you're looking at one of those mysterious completely self-evident alltime masterpieces.

    Herman
     
    Herman, Jul 25, 2003
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  18. michaelab

    GrahamN

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    Yep - the dangers of the superlative being the enemy of the merely good. While the live event has a character you can never get from CD/LP, almost anyone is going to fail when compared to C.Kleiber (for LvB5) or Norman/Masur. You also don't get from recordings of such great performances the added extras, like Frittoli's stunnning dress, which she filled most agreeably ;) .
     
    GrahamN, Jul 25, 2003
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  19. michaelab

    Herman

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    Oh, I certainly wasn't saying I prefer sitting at home playing CDs over the concert hall. On the contrary. A middling to good performance in the concert hall beats an excellent recording anytime, because not only is the music live; you, as a listener are more alive too than you would be at home (if only for the looks of Frittoli). Classical music is meant to be experienced live first; hifi reproduction comes in the second place at best.

    However I, in this case, had to choose between radio and cd - even then live is very alluring, because it's different. But the Strauss is a very demanding piece, that's all.

    Herman
     
    Herman, Jul 25, 2003
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  20. michaelab

    HenryT

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    Looks like tonight is my chance to give Bartok another go by tuning in then. To be honest, my experiences were based on one or two not so concentrated listenings a couple of years back. I saw a performance of his 2nd violin concerto on a programme on Channel 4. The programme was called "Concerto" and was broadcast on a Sunday evening. It was co-presented by Micheal Tilson-Thomas and Dudley Moore (with the LSO). Each week they would disect and explore a particular concerto piece.

    I think the smaller chamber and solo piano pieces by Bartok I can largely get along with as they are probably about as close to the original Hungarian folk influences as you can get I suppose, whereas in the orchestral stuff the origins are much more burried, and sound more like a conventional 20th centuary classical piece?

    Haven't heard much Kodaly, but the stuff I have heard of his I do like. There's that famous piece that everybody knows whose name has escaped my mind, a concerto like piece with something that sounds like a dulcimer or something like that as the featured instrument? Oh, and also had to play one his pieces for a piano exam once, from a suite of tunes he wrote for children to listen/play - again forgotten the exact name.
     
    HenryT, Jul 25, 2003
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