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An American in London - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
An American in London
We dodged the showers, moving up from the steps to under the cover of the canopy of the Royal Albert Hall and back again, prior to Prom 16, which was a programme of largely American music. Curiously, the concert begain with Beethoven's overture Leonore No 3; the unconvincing link with American music (the theme of 'liberty') was perhaps an omen for some of the disjoints in other works in the concert. Marin Alsop danced her way around the rostrum as she conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with exuberance.

Fortunately Alsop was generally more restrained in conducting the remainder of the concert. Each of the movements in Barber's Violin Concerto was pleasant and well played by James Ehnes, but the work does seem rather to be the front-end of one concerto with the back-end of another; it's as if Barber discovered serialism between writing the second and third movements. Some of the orchestral effects, particularly in the first movement, reminded me of neo-classicism in general, and Prokofiev in particular.

The second half was Copland's Symphony No 3, which incorporates the famous Fanfare for the Common Man as a lead-in to its final movement. Interestingly, as the first movement of the Barber reminded me of Prokofiev, the first movement of the Copland reminded me a little of Shostakovich. Although it was interesting and I would say that there were fragments of the music that worked well, perhaps I was not entirely convinced by the work as a whole.


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