I left work very promptly at lunchtime on Wednesday, and was lucky to get a parking space a little closer to the station than usual. A fast train and a brisk walk later, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the Proms queue not yet onto the second set of steps at around half past one. It was, however, filling quickly, and I heard someone say later that the stewards were turning people away two hours before the start of the concert. I had ticket number 65 for Prom 65 and was amused by the symmetry.
This conert stood out as a "must-see" for me in the initially mediocre-seeming season programme (a view I'm a little inclined to revise; I suppose Roger Wright's first season is like getting to know a new Doctor after a regeneration) - the Berlin Philharmonic conducting my favourite Brahms and Shostakovich symphonies, both works I've seen in recent years at the Proms (Brahms 3 in 2004 and Shostakovich 10 in 2006). The Brahms was particularly well played, I thought, though the trumpet was a trifle strong in the opening chords. The Shostakovich was mixed: the string sections were excellent, but the woodwind, though generally good, had a couple of rather muted warbling sections, and the timpanist had kid gloves for the "Stalin" scherzo in particular, and again in the finale. The orchestra as a whole perhaps didn't feel the work sufficiently, though it was nowhere near as disinterested as the Orchestre National de France's performance of the Leningrad a couple of years ago. And someone's phone emitted the dreaded 12-tone Nokia tune during the first movement (splendidly airbrushed from the airwaves on Listen Again somehow by judicious sound engineers), and there was a particularly egregious outbreak of coughing toward the end of the first movement (unfortunate, though clearly involuntary and therefore forgiveable). So overall, this was a good performance, but not an excellent one.