Sunday 3 September 2017

Those were the Proms that were

Semyon Bychkov and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms (Photo: Andrew Morris)
It's gone so quickly, especially when seen from a distance. There may be two weeks left, but my Proms are over, save the delayed TV relays and the Last Night hate-watch which, as ever, I hope none of my non-classical friends tune in for. And the distance is because I have never lived further from Prince Albert's mighty, wildly unsuitable hall, so four visits was my lot this 2017 season.

One solitary promenade in the arena meant I stood for less than any season since 2002, but that one Prom was a whopper. Rattle's Gurrelieder - effectively beginning his LSO tenure in style - was the one I'd mentally marked on P-Day (when the Proms are announced and which, now I think about it, is NOT a good name). UK people with a internets can see it on the iPlayer until the end of September, and would be advised to seek it out as, like an eclipse, it's a heavenly wonder that doesn't come around that often.

The others were all Bachtrackers - two from the BBC NOW at the start of the season (Prom 5 and Prom 6), the highlight of which was Nicola Benedetti's completely incredible performance of Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto (and you may have heard that I like him). My last visit was last week's BBCSO performance of Tchaikovsky's Manfred, which you can read about here (look out for a favorite character from Toy Story in the review. See, you want to know now.)

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