qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

  • Music:

You expect me to talk? No, Mr Bond, I expect you to sing!

Dad visited this weekend on his way back from a holiday in Devon. He wanted to have a look around London, as it's years since he's been there, so we went to meet him on Sunday after lunch to go to the Cabinet War Rooms (now rebranded as the 'Churchill' War Rooms). Ironically, I didn't find the Churchill room extension all that engaging; it was a bit unstructured and too 'interactive' for me, although one of its more interesting exhibits was a naval Enigma machine. The rest of the exhibition was a more-or-less faithful representation of the rooms as they existed during the war. The audio guide was essential as labelling was minimal. We had a quick bite to eat at the cafe in St Martin in the Fields, a relaxed venue well worth remembering, and took a leisurely walk back past the fourth plinth, through Admiralty Arch, passed the new Yuri Gagarin statue, and on into St James's Park and Hyde Park.

We'd booked tickets in the stalls for the all-Rachmaninov prom, so I had a different perspective on the concert. Although a bit more distant than I'm used to, the view and the sound of the orchestra were fine; perhaps the voices of the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus were a bit blurred. The works in the concert were all interesting, though, and mostly new to me. As they entered at the start of the concert, I thought the bass soloist Alexei Tanovitski bore a passable resemblance to 007, whereas like many conductors, Gianandrea Noseda dressed in Bond-villain style. The opening few bars of the first piece, Spring, resembled slightly The Isle of the Dead; perhaps the dances from Aleko could be compared and contrasted in some ways with Borodin's Polovtsian Dances. I particularly enjoyed the folk-inspired Three Russian Songs, with just the right amount of energy, Noseda as usual employing his "whole-body conducting style". The second half began with the orchestral version of the famous Vocalise with soprano Svetla Vassileva. The final work of the concert, The Bells, in which the two previous soloists were joined by tenor Misha Didyk, probably didn't catch my attention quite as much as the other pieces, though I feel all the pieces in the concert deserve to be explored further. Fortunately with a slightly earlier finish we were able to enjoy the evening walk back through Hyde Park to Paddington.
Tags: dad, exhibitions, london, music
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