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The Dark Side - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
The Dark Side
Prom 33 consisted of two serious works: Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem in the first half, and Deryck Cooke's completion of Mahler's Tenth Symphony in the second.

Gianandrea Noseda employed the "full-body" conducting style. Often programmes with a libretto instruct the concert-goer to turn the pages quietly; I wonder whether the conductor's score could do with a similar note. He was also quite vocal at times, but the performance was so emotionally charged that it did not matter. There's a superficial resemblance to David Hyde Pierce, a.k.a. Niles Crane, and he seemed to be equally highly strung.

Overall I thought the orchestra did the Britten a bit better than the Mahler, but that could just be because I don't know the Britten piece so well. I felt the climax in the first movement of the Mahler didn't quite fill the hall, though the final movement was better. The programme notes were useful on a number of counts - for filling in the detail on how much was by Mahler and how much by Cooke and other helpers (mostly Mahler, by quite a long way), and also providing notes on Mahler's life and state of mind at the time the Symphony was drafted (Alma's affair with Walter Gropius). The tenth seems to me to be very much paired with the ninth, both in its length and in its largely gloomy and sardonic preoccupation. The final movements of the two, though, are very different. The ninth is awash with despair and self-pity, but the tenth, whilst neither signalling victory or defeat, has a certain air of purposeful resolution to it. For both works in the concert, Noseda's projection demanded a controlled silence from the audience before applause at the end, and there was hardly any in between the movements of the Mahler, probably a sign that there weren't newcomers in the hall on the occasion.

It was good to meet up with strange_complex and friend in the bar afterwards, as they headed towards a late-night Bach prom. In other circumstances I would have liked to go to that, but unfortunately I'm a bit busy right now. I would have liked to go to last Sunday's Prom (but at least I saw the St Anthony Variations on BBC4) and I've decided not to go to tonight's, as I would have arrived later than usual and I gather the seats are a sell-out, so it will probably be packed in the arena. I now have a few days' grace before Götterdämmerung next Sunday.


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