Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BBC Prom 38, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Albert Hall, London. Wednesday, 06-August-2104

Picnic in a box - doing classical music in style.

A team outing to the RAH; we booked a box and smuggled a picnic in. One ticket had already gone when Mary booked the remaining seven tickets in the box. We had two spare tickets which nearly went to waste but a colleague and partner stepped in at the very last minute.

We set up the impromptu buffet and were just sipping our first glass of wine when the bloke in seat number one arrived. I felt a bit sorry for the him; the usherette showed him into the box with a cheery "these are your new friends" - he looked a bit startled, declined our offer of a drink and scuttled off to his seat.

Mixed reviews from the broadsheets but they all liked Sibelius 2. We also all agreed Sib 2 was much the better half of the programme. Another great night out.

The Guardian gave it 3 stars:
"John Storgårds delivers a thrilling finale to compatriot Sibelius's Second Symphony, rounding out his Proms appearance with solid performances of Peter Maxwell Davies and Frank Bridge [...] John Storgårds's Prom with the BBC Philharmonic flanked two lesser-known British works (Peter Maxwell Davies's Fifth Symphony, Frank Bridge's Oration) with two of Sibelius's most popular pieces, Finlandia and the Second Symphony. Sibelius is often regarded as Storgårds's calling card, though his interpretations of his Finnish compatriot's music divide opinion and there are times when you can see why. Full review…

The Telegraph was more enthused and gave it 5 stars:
'truly overwhelming' This was an amazingly energised performance of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's chamber pieces, says Ivan Hewett  [...] The other was Sibelius’s 2nd Symphony. It’s a piece where every beguiling or puzzling move is part of a long journey, which leads with iron logic to the final triumphal blaze of D major at the end. It’s easy to lose sight of that final destination, but conductor John Storgards never did. That vision, combined with the impassioned playing of the BBC Philharmonic, made for something truly overwhelming. Full review…

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