When the fiery chariot finally arrived to transport Elijah aloft and the antiphonal trumpets and drums and assorted ophicleides of Paul McCreesh’s mightily augmented Gabrieli Players Consort and Players were rent asunder by the open-stopped thrust of the Royal Albert Hall organ you suddenly realised why the Victorians became damp with ecstasy at the very … [Read More]
Sir Colin Davis’ vim and vigour has always seemed so eternal, so unaffected by the advancing years, that it was strange, not to say difficult, to discover him conducting now from a chair. You could see and hear how that compromised the transference of energy from his now familiar body language to the players before … [Read More]
Two Prokofiev symphonies for the price of one – the First and Fifth, the little and large of the canon – and surprisingly it was the bantam weight First that yielded Valery Gergiev’s biggest surprises and tiniest revelations. Rarely has it sounded so tantalisingly Haydnesque.
By no stretch of the imagination could you have described … [Read More]
There are programmes and there are Proms programmes and this three-tier special was of mythic proportions. It started as it meant to go on, with a big bang, as Andrew Litton and the Royal Philharmonic brasses and percussion summoned the “Common Man” to bear witness. He – or rather we – were there in great … [Read More]
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the shower… the sound of those slicing, dicing, violin glissandi – halfway between screams and flashes of cold steel – sent ripples of recognition and nervous laughter through the Albert Hall and a vision of Janet Leigh caught in her Edvard Munch moment.
Yes, … [Read More]
The building had barely cooled down after the Simon Bolivar Mahler the previous night but youth still ruled at the Proms with the arrival of our own National Youth Orchestra and that eternal wild child Nigel Kennedy promising and delivering astonishment in a not quite solo Bach gig in the evening’s late spot.
And just … [Read More]
The Royal Albert Hall can be an intimate place, mysteriously transforming on occasions from monster auditorium to private salon. There’s something about a small group of players, or in this case singers – the BBC Singers – in close harmony that effects that transformation and so it came to pass that the short vocal preface … [Read More]