Tonight's Prom

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by Ted, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. Ted

    Ted

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    Tonight's Prom (Friday 16th July!)

    Is anyone else listening to it? God, I hate this Henry Wood arrangement of the Bach (and of course we all know it's not really Bach anyway) - such a shame that after that organ opening we hear the orchestra taking over the fugue... Urgh...

    [edit - title edited to stop everyone thinking I'm talking about "tonight's prom"!]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2004
    Ted, Jul 16, 2004
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  2. Ted

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    Actually I thought it was great. Riotous and enormously silly, but great fun :D

    Sadly I'm going to have to go off and socialise instead of listening to the Holst... :(
     
    PeteH, Jul 16, 2004
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  3. Ted

    tones compulsive cantater

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    Do we? (It must be the Toccata and fugue in D Minor). In the past, I know some folk questioned the authenticity of BWV565, but I thought that was all behind us now and it was now universally accepted as genuine JS.
     
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    tones, Jul 16, 2004
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  4. Ted

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    Me and Mrs beeb really quite enjoyed the second half of the prom... but sadly missed most of the first half apart from snatches of the Elgar Music makers which I thought quite good, might see what recordings are available as I had not heard it before.

    The planets performance was not bad at all. interesting flicking between listening to it on FM radio 3 and Freeview digital, the FM broadcast won hands down easily.
     
    alanbeeb, Jul 16, 2004
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  5. Ted

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    Hickox on EMI British Composers is very good FWIW.
     
    PeteH, Jul 17, 2004
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  6. Ted

    lordsummit moderate mod

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    Am looking forward to tonights. It should be great fun, but there are some real gems next week, Firebird just for one
     
    lordsummit, Jul 17, 2004
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  7. Ted

    djc

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    I mostly agree about the orchestrated fugue. The season had to start with the revamped organ and I guess this was an attempt to link it into the rest of the concert. It certainly raised a few hackles here .

    I enjoyed the performance of the Elgar. The much heralded Ms Hunt Lieberson is certainly someone I'd like to hear again - she has a fine, creamy toned mezzo voice, a presence on stage and wrung as much as possible from the dire Victorian middle-brow lyrics. It's an interesting work, hardly a masterpiece, but I liked the sense of looking back over a career with all those quotes from earlier pieces. I thought The Planets remained pretty earthbound [groan] for most of the performance. Mars nearly fell apart at one point which suggested more time had been spent rehearsing the Elgar. Slatkin also insisted on long pauses between each movement and what magic had existed was lost amongst the prolonged coughing, shuffling and scattered applause. He got the message eventually and Saturn, Uranus and Neptune followed without a break and this was the part of the performance that worked for me.

    I urge anyone who can get to S. Kensington and even thinks they might like classical music to visit the Albert Hall sometime this season. It is still the best way to spend a summer in London and my major reason for not taking a holiday in July or August. Promming in the Arena gets you the best sound in the house for £4, it's a relaxed and generally friendly atmosphere and many of the performers are world class.

    Ted, would you consider editing the icon for this thread? I wouldn't want people to think it was all :mad: !

    duncan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2004
    djc, Jul 17, 2004
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  8. Ted

    HenryT

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    I remember them performing the Henry Wood arrangement of BWV565 at the 100th season last night concert, in fact I've got the CD recording of that particular concert. Must admit, I quit like the "writ big" orchestrations of Bach, I've got another CD full of Stokowski's orchestral Bach arrangements (BBC Phil/Barnett on Chandos) featuring of course the famous arrangement used in Disney's Fantasia - not one for purists though I can understand.

    Not ever heard The Music Makers before, but have added it to my future purchases list.

    Listened to the first half on DAB on the main hi-fi (a big disappointment soundwise even @ 192kbps - will be using FM in future) and then went into the other room where the TV is to see the 2nd half.
     
    HenryT, Jul 17, 2004
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  9. Ted

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    I really can't understand what the fuss was all about with the half-and-half Bach - I thought it was quite a neat way to get in both the newly refurbished organ and Henry Wood.
     
    PeteH, Jul 17, 2004
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  10. Ted

    Robbo

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    I am sorry, I have to make a confession.

    Every time I scan through the ZG front page and see this thread title, I read it as 'Tonights Porn'. At which point I hastily click on the link, only to be mightily disappointed :eek:
     
    Robbo, Jul 17, 2004
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  11. Ted

    GrahamN

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    Neil - get thee back to the "Move over Kournikova" thread! :D

    Sort of thought about going to Friday night's prom, but work got in the way :mad: . The Henry Wood arrangement didn't do much for me I'm afraid, (just a bit too "hail fellow, well met" about it) although I really like the Stokowski version - although I feel Bamert is just a bit too reserved with it and Stokowski himself goes for it with a lot more panache.

    I felt the Planets a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, mostly a bit downbeat - although I thought the opening of Saturn a quite wonderful evocation of the onset of old-age (or so I imagine ;) ). Some rather lumpen bits in Jupiter did rather jar.

    djc, did you see Lieberson do Phaedra last year? - one of the vocal highlights of the season (even though B. Britten generally does very little for me). In the Music Makers though I just couldn't get past the Edwardian sanctimoniousness (OK George V-ian, just). Although I'm a fair English pastoralist nut, I do find Elgar's choral/vocal music pretty cloying (except for Sea Pictures). I have the Boult/Baker version, also on EMI British Composers (coupled with Gerontius)

    The next two weeks look pretty good. Haven't made up my mind about tonight yet, but will definitiely be there tomorrow for the wonderful Hymn of Jesus. Will probably skip Thursday's Firebird though after Noseda's profoundly irritating over-emoting completely wrecked the Beethoven 4 last year, and will probably take Friday's on the radio. I would certainly recommend next Saturday's to anyone interested in the slightly more astringent end of classical music. Oramo and the CBSO have been absolutely wonderful in everying I've heard them do. I'm also very interested in what Masur makes of Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, having been at a marvellous performance of it given by Mackerras and the Phil last month - I just hope he doesn't get too heavy and German about it.
     
    GrahamN, Jul 18, 2004
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  12. Ted

    lordsummit moderate mod

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    Wasn't that impressed by the performances last night, thought the strings were too lush with not enough bite, and R3 seemed to completely cock up the balance, especially in 1812. When the cannons went off, they lost the plot, the engineers just turned the sound down, and then it took ages to come back. It seemed really dead somehow. Rach Pag was good, but Walk to the paradise garden seemed really anodyne, not a patch on the Halle's glory days with Barbirolli.
    Looking forward to monday's prom, am a sucker for the Alpine Symphony
     
    lordsummit, Jul 18, 2004
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  13. Ted

    djc

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    Graham,

    last year was my worst ever for Proms-going, I barely reached double figures, and I didn't get to the Phaedra. I'll certainly be making more effort in future. I generally struggle with Elgar's vocal music too, the texts are just so bloody dreadful and unlike (say) Puccini, you can't pretend to not understand them!

    Next up this week is Magdalena Kožená on Wednesday. I'm also very tempted by 90 minutes of Messiaen's technicour Catholic mysticism on Friday, especially as I'm hoping to be in Utah this autumn.
     
    djc, Jul 19, 2004
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  14. Ted

    stumblin Kittens getting even...

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    At least you're getting to hear the proms. I've sold my digi-box, which also served as my radio. No Radio 3 or BBC 4 for me.
     
    stumblin, Jul 21, 2004
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  15. Ted

    GrahamN

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    So...what do we think of things so far?

    Some pretty good and steady concerts - probably nothing life-changing yet, but nothing particularly dire either (although I did avoid the Benjamin/Messaien concert last Friday). High points for me so far were the Strauss Alpensinfonie last week, Ives 4th symphony last Saturday and the Elgar/Payne 3rd symphony on Monday. Oramo did a marvellous job keeping everything together through all the mutiple rhythms going on in the Ives, and the off-stage chamber group (near one of the stalls doors) worked great. The Bernstein Chichester Psalms were surprisingly sloppy though - I did expect a lot more precision and attack from Oramo and the CBSO.

    Brabbins and the BBCSSO did a wonderful job with the Elgar/Payne. It's also interesting that the bits that sounded most like Elgar were those that were least written by him (i.e. the last movement). Mostly though it sounded rather more like Holst than EE - maybe this is the one bit of Elgar M'lud would not lose his breakfast over. We've actually had a huge amount of Elgar so far (Music makers, Cockaigne, Enigma, Violin conc, 3rd symph), but have nothing now until LOHAG at the LNOTP. Bit worried that the only person who seems to agree with me that Zuckerman was very dry and uninspiring in the Concerto is Hillary Finch in the Times - so I must be wrong there :( ; djc seemed to enjoy it well enough, but then he is a Naimie :lol: .

    Janacek's Glagolitic Mass was interesting - having also heard it only a month ago given by the Phil and Charlie Maraccas at the RFH. My judgement may be suspect here, in that it was a sighted test, but Masur's interpretation seemed a lot grander than Mackerras', but Charlie had a lot more bite and life - so entirely according to the form book. The tenor last night was MUCH better, and David Goode's organ solos were also much more impressive than Thomas Trotter's at the RFH. Last night's soprano was also pretty good, with a very sunny tone, but I still like Christine Brewer's huge voice (well...nothing about her is small :eek: ). I did miss the bits that Janacek cut out after the first performance though (extra cross-rhythms, two extra timpanists, off-stage clarinets) - after they found it too difficult (or expensive) - so I'll definitely be getting Mackerras' recording in its full glory.

    I also really surprised myself by really enjoying Britten's Curlew River late last night (being mostly fairly allergic to anything he wrote after about 1950!) - possibly because the opening plainchant (Te lucis ante terminum) is never very far below the surface. This was one of Graham Vick's interactive stagings - where the singers were on podia wheeled around the arena with us being ushered around the place by flak-jacketed "policemen" (Mercia Policefarce is clearly filled with remarkably good singers ;) ). If anyone's interested in seeing what it looked like, it's being broadcast on BBC4 TV on Sunday evening. Not sure I'd want to listen to it on CD though.

    Shame Alice Coote is ill (again :rolleyes: ) for tonight's Kindertotenlieder, but we've got a fair substitute in 'Ginger Spice' (aka Petra Lang). Just hope she doesn't overact - as is her wont.
     
    GrahamN, Jul 29, 2004
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  16. Ted

    lordsummit moderate mod

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    Have not heard loads. I've actually found this years programming a bit uninspiring. Enjoyed the BBCPhil doing firebird, but thought the ending was a little tame. Wasn't overgone on the Elgar Fiddle Concerto, thought it was rather dull, I've heard it much better. Enjoyed Enigma and like you the highlight so far has been the Alpine Symphony. The Dvorak Mass that was on after the Elgar was rather good, but other than that not a lot to write home about really. I'm going away soon so I will miss the next few weeks. Get back on the 17th so will be able to join in for the last 3 weeks
     
    lordsummit, Jul 29, 2004
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  17. Ted

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    Thought Zukerman's Elgar sounded like it was being played a bit safe, with technical problems never really quite kept convincingly at bay - how old is he now? The Glagolitic Mass was great though, suitably awe-inspiring, and I must say that while I don't know the Ives at all I thought it was great fun. That said I'm not exactly going to rush out and buy the CD.

    Think I should be hitting the Albert Hall on Thursday next week for Vengerov doing the Britten and Tzigane :slayer:
     
    PeteH, Jul 29, 2004
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  18. Ted

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    I am kicking myself for having missed the performance of Martinu's double concerto... his one piece that grabs me.
    Not much so far has really done a lot for me, but then again there has not been any bad performances either. I thought the Elgar 3 very good - and amazing how good the BBC SSO are nowadays, when I used to see them regularly in the early 90's they were very poor. Brabbins and Vanska should be praised!
    Tonight's Taras Bulba also got me interested, I have a recording of this (Dohnanyi/Cleveland) that I've only listened to once about ten years ago, not really getting it until I heared the concert tonight so I've just listened to it again - what a great piece this is!

    What did people think of the new Casken symphony last week? To be honest, I thought it was flysh**. I try my best with contemporary music, love everything orchestral by Maxwell Davies, MacMillan, the Matthews brothers but this left me totally unmoved and quite bored.
     
    alanbeeb, Jul 29, 2004
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  19. Ted

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    Found it entirely bewildering. I listened to it, and really have no recollection at all of what it was like.
     
    PeteH, Jul 29, 2004
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  20. Ted

    lordsummit moderate mod

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    Thought the Mahler tonight was spectacularly beautiful, the Jancacek wasn't bad either. the Martinu was also rather fine. One of the better proms this year I think
     
    lordsummit, Jul 29, 2004
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