qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Strictly Come Conducting

For me, the most important thing when I look through the Proms programme is the music being performed; however, the selection of artists is also important and on this occasion it was the appearance of Marin Alsop with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra that caught my eye. I would probably have skipped Debussy or Ravel, but this was also an interesting programme of American and American-inspired music.

In the first half we had Dvořák's famous Symphony No. 9 (From the New World). Nothing we can't hum there, obviously, but I think the most popular pieces do generally deserve their popularity. Certainly this was an impassioned and sensitive performance, and it was also clear that the orchestra were also enjoying themselves.

The second half was a mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar: beginning with Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, but then moving on to Joan Tower's Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 1 (dedicated, sometime after composition, to Alsop herself), which was refreshingly melodic and prompts me to investigate her work further. The next work, Mômoprecóce by Villa-Lobos, was for piano and orchestra; clearly no-one had warned the leader of the Proms traditions, so he was a bit startled to receive thundering applause as he played the 'A' for the orchestra to tune. Nelson Freire joined the orchestra to play the work, which I have to admit like a few other Villa-Lobos pieces I have heard, was a bit of a mixed bag but generally interesting and always energetic. The programme ended with a suite from Ginastera's Estancia - again an energetic piece, more successful than the previous one for me. There were two encores - the first, an orchestration of Edu Lobo's Pé de Vento from Suíte Popular Brasileira; the second isn't listed but may appear in the TV broadcast on Saturday.
Tags: music
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