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JohnS

Proms 2018

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I don't think there's yet a thread for this year's Proms but there have been one or two mentions elsewhere on the Forum.  Highlights for me so far, and I'm still very much in catch up mode, have been Messian's Turangalia Symphony (Sakari Oramo conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra) which always brings a smile as it's so infectious; Alisa Weilerstein playing the Shostakovich 1st 'cello concerto with Karina Canellakis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and then her Bach encore; and a fabulous Steve Reich Drumming Part 1 by 4 Young Musician permission winners as part of the Young Musician Prom - I know Steve Reich isn't everybody's cup of tea (Multiverse) but this I think is well worth catching.

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Enjoyed Paul Lewis, one of my very favourite pianists, playing Beethoven's Emperor and look forward to seeing it on TV next week. Tonight's prom was interesting with Act 1 of Nutcracker- good to hear it as 'music' although I kept visualising the ballet. And the premiere of Joby Talbot's guitar concerto with big echoes of Winters Tale in it. The interval talk mentioned new full length ballet by Wheeldon with music by Talbot in 2020, no further information.

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I loved the guitar concerto and was fascinated by Milos Karadaglic's recollections about his interaction with Talbot whilst the piece was being developed. Sadly, I just don't find Talbot a memorable ballet composer.

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4 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

I loved the guitar concerto and was fascinated by Milos Karadaglic's recollections about his interaction with Talbot whilst the piece was being developed. Sadly, I just don't find Talbot a memorable ballet composer.

Keep trying!! I've now seen Winters Tale several times live and many times on DVD and I think I'm starting to enjoy it. Mind you, that doesn't extend to Alice; I don't enjoy the ballet or the music. Just to confuse the issue, I'm not fond of guitar music but I liked the concerto! Now feel thoroughly mixed up - must be the weather!

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6 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

Sadly, I just don't find Talbot a memorable ballet composer.

 

I agree, very bland.

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Talbot or Wheeldon said in the interview that guitar would feature in the score for the new commission....

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About a month in … highlights for me so far seem to say “Cello Cello Cello” … Shostakovich/ Cello Concerto, Dvorak/ Cello Concerto, Elgar/Cello Concerto. Also Shostakovich 7 and Drumming by Steve Reich. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, bringing back memories of a daily commute on the M25 in the morning rush hour, listening to the Violin Concerto day after day. And then those works that remind me of ballet performances to that music - Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres midi d’un faune (Cherkaoui) and Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Araiz). Looking forward to the second half of this year's Proms.

 

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Wonderful to catch up on more of the Proms.  I was very taken with Jean-Guihen Queyras playing the Elgar cello concerto and I can't recall such clarity in the fast sections.  A welcome surprise to see bangorballetboy give his thoughts on the concerto beforehand (along with a few other audience members)!

 

And Andras Schiff giving another solo Bach concert - The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 after concerts of Book 1 and the Goldberg Variations in previous years.  Utterly spellbinding and how fortunate we are to have such a musician playing for us and illuminating these masterpieces with his genius.

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12 hours ago, JohnS said:

Wonderful to catch up on more of the Proms.  I was very taken with Jean-Guihen Queyras playing the Elgar cello concerto and I can't recall such clarity in the fast sections.  A welcome surprise to see bangorballetboy give his thoughts on the concerto beforehand (along with a few other audience members)!

 

Oh dear, and I missed it!  (Was out at another one)

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7 hours ago, alison said:

 

Oh dear, and I missed it!  (Was out at another one)

 

Still on iPlayer.  The whole concert in the link below includes the various audience contributions on the Elgar and an intriguing encore - Dutilleux's Un Poco Indeciso, the first of 3 Stophes sur le nom de Sacher (new to me and wonderfully complementing the Elgar):

BBC Proms, 2018: Elgar Cello Concerto: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bhwdnw via @bbciplayer

 

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2 hours ago, JohnS said:

BBC Proms, 2018: Elgar Cello Concerto: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bhwdnw via @bbciplayer

 

 

That link didn't work for me but this one does. Available for another 28 days.

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That reminds me of the time I took part in a vox pop while in the queue for a First Night of the Proms one year, and it turned out my soundbite was the very first thing played on R3 on the very first broadcast of the season! I wasn't expecting that (and the resulting comments from friends and family I assumed would never hear it). I have no idea which year it was or what I said.

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I had an unfortunate experience at the Proms last week!

its a long time since I've been to a concert at the RAH and last week on bank holiday Monday I went to the Bernstein Age of Anxiety Concert (rather appropriate as it turned out) and Shostakovitch concert.

Some friends of mine (who I had  spent the day with)  were lucky enough to be in a Cambridge College box .....no spare seats....so I just got a ticket at the last minute in the Rausing Circle.

Well obviously the vertigo/panic ...that sometimes comes on when up very high these days has got much worse ( only been happening in the last five years or so)

Usually I can get the better of it but unfortunately on this occasion I just couldn't. 

After struggling along the row to get to my seat where I just couldn't look down at all it was really hard to concentrate on the music as I had to fight the feeling that I might fall forward ( and obviously over the top of everyone else to my death far below) or that I would not be able to contain myself and have to make a gross disturbance to the whole concert ....or so it seemed at the time...trying to leave....but I could not leave because I could not stand up to get out because of the fear  of falling!! It was almost like being in some sort of nightmare scenario. I had certainly forgotten how vast the RAH is. Hence a very hot and sweaty period digging my feet into the floor and telling myself very severely that I was not going to faint!! It somehow helped if the music was loud but when it was very quiet it seemed to intensify things.

So when the interval came it was such a relief and unfortunately I just couldn't bring myself to stay for the Shostakovitch ....and I love his music.

On the way home I thought maybe I'd missed an opportunity as I don't know but perhaps I could have asked the ushers if I could have gone into the Promenaders section for the rest of the concert which was not full by any means.

Almost certainly if attending another Prom this is where I would go .....right down on the floor!! 

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That's debatable :)

 

You should have asked Front of House, Lin.  I'm sure they would have moved you.  I've found vertigo comes and goes a lot - there have been occasional times when I have got it in the ROH amphi, although usually I don't - and I think it may depend on other (temporary?) health factors.  Ear infections would presumably be one example because of the effect on your balance.  But I hope it won't become generalised for you.

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Thankyou Alison I used to be great with heights until about five years ago. ....it's why at the Amphi at the ROH I now have to be not much higher than row K and cannot sit in the slips at all any more.

its probably a weird combo of deteoration in inner ear balance and sight not being so good now for middle distance etc. And the huge space of the RAH.

Many years ago was right at the top to see Shirley Bassey and had no problem at all then.

I think the seats in the Rausing Circle are quite steeply raked as well.....so great for viewing but you don't feel protected that much by the row in front!! 

What I did like was the lovely warm atmosphere in the audience and the RAH is an amazing space for sure.

i tend to pay less for concerts than for ballet but if there was someone or some concert I particularly wanted to see I would just have to pay more for a seat. But certainly when the Proms are on I think that bottom space would be great.....and not expensive! 

 

 

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With the Proms drawing to a close I must add a couple more highlights - Simon Rattle and the LSO plus chorus and soloists in Ravel and Kirill Petrenko and the Berlin Philharmonic in two concerts.  Rattle/LSO and Petrenko/Berlin Philharmonic are already giving us wonderful music making and Petrenko doesn't take up post until next year - we're promised so much and the next few years I'm sure will be fabulous.

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It's great to have Simon Rattle back in the UK.

Im hoping he will be invited to conduct his old orchestra in Birmingham at some point too....a good excuse to go to the Birmingham Symphony Hall! 

 

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I can't decide which I like more: Rattle being back, or Gergiev having gone, which is the reason for Rattle being back!

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I have a soft spot for Simon Rattle as I worked with his father when I was teaching in Liverpool back in the early 70's!!

Simons father was an interesting man and very good on the guitar I might say! He retrained as a teacher in his 50's and I worked with him at Speke Primary school for a year. On miserable rainy days when the kids hadn't been out all day he would come across to my classroom ( adjacent to his) and say do you want to bring your kids in for a sing song!! And then we'd have a good old time for the last half hour of the day or so.....can't get away with this these days...unfortunately!! 

He was always on about his son who was about 17 at this time and who "will be famous one day" we finally met him one Christmas where they lived in Menlove Avenue. 

A couple of years later Simon was the youngest ever Conductor at the Royal Festival Hall at the time ( that age record has now been beaten though) I remember it was Berlioz and Shostakovitch 10th.....this was an introduction to Shostakovitch for me who I've loved  ever since. I took my parents to this concert and in the first coincidence who should be in the next row but Mr Rattle senior!! He had met my parents before ( long story) and insisted we all went backstage to say hello to Simon.....much to my fathers dismay .....he hated any sort of fuss or show like that....but we did anyway!! Simon was lovely all masses of dark curly hair and green eyes and lots of charm!! 

Some years later I was in Barnsbury Park in Islington near where I lived then sunbathing when I thought I heard a voice I recognised ....it couldn't be....but it was ...Mr Rattle senior again with a young toddler!! Second coincidence. It turned out Simon now lived in the next street to me!! It was at this point that Mr. Rattle told me that Simon had turned down some lucrative contracts to stay with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra which he did for another few years after this and I have always really admired him for this and what he achieved with this orchestra. 

I would really love it if there was another coincidence .....Simon invited to conduct in Birmingham and he is conducting Shostakovitch 10th OR even the second piano concerto!! 

I also hope we get the new concert hall that he would like .....but for me no half measures....either not at all ...or some truely amazing building that everyone would love to be in.....it has to be at least the best in Europe!! 

 

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For me, as a listener and tv watcher, the two stand out proms were the Ravel/Rattle and, perhaps even more the Berlioz with John Eliot Gardiner. I often find Berlioz vocal music a bit hard to take but not at this concert. And I loved the story on BBC 3 about Sir John being given his identity pass which bore the name Sir Elton John Gardiner! 

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