Thursday, August 11, 2016

Prom 35 2016: Bartok, Malcolm Hayes and Dvorak

Royal Albert Hall, London. Thursday, 11-August-2016.

The first of only two trips to the Proms this year. Both in tier 2 boxes which seat 4 plus 1. Our friends Christine and Paul joined us for this their first ever Proms concert.

Since one cannot take photos of the performance - indeed, one should be listening to the music - I took a shot of the auditorium; a wonderful Grade I listed edifice.

I enjoyed the Bartok, the Violin Concerto by Malcolm Hayes was very atmospheric in a film soundtrack kind of way, and you can't go wrong with Dvorak.

Extracts from review by David Truelove on BachTrack:
  • This Prom opened with Bartók’s Dance Suite which, despite the indifference shown at its 1923 première, is one of his most colourful works, commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of uniting the cities of Buda, Pest and Óbuda into Budapest. Its folk-derived material (Arab, Hungarian and Romanian influences) gives rhythmic and melodic impetus to its six movements that also have harmonic echoes of Debussy.
  • Inspiration of a different kind fuelled the Violin Concerto by Malcolm Hayes that followed. [...]. While casting aside the conventional combative relationship between orchestra and soloist, it presents an intriguing single-movement soundscape (evoking the endless skies of Harris) with traces of more traditional concerto models – Beethoven, Sibelius and Vaughan Williams readily spring to mind. [...]  Playing from an iPad, soloist Tai Murray (a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist) gave a persuasive rendition, bringing to its near-ceaseless flow a real sense of commitment, poise and flawless intonation
  • Dvořák’s Symphony no. 7 in D minor [...] This account, on Thursday, was admirable in many ways – not least in the momentum achieved in the opening Allegro maestoso and the drama initiating the reprise. Variety of pace and dynamic contributed much to a nuanced slow movement; its ebb and flow were nicely caught. Dvořák’s melodic charm found outlet in a well-judged Scherzo and in the Finale, Søndergård sustained a tight control over its stormy narrative through to its defiantly major key close. 
  • Full review...

We normally take in something to eat and drink in the interval but this time they did a bag search and made us check our champagne into the cloakroom. So we decided to have a post-concert drink thanks to the cool bag and our plastic picnic glasses.

All in all wonderful evening.

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