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Known Unknowns - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Known Unknowns
I knew none of the works in Prom 9, although I had heard excerpts from the Strauss at some stage on Radio 3. The concert began with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Thomas Søndergård playing Stenhammar's Excelsior! (yes, it does have an exclamation mark) overture. I hadn't even heard of Stenhammar; apparently he was a major figure in Sweden in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (this piece dates from 1896). It was energetic and enjoyable, though perhaps unremarkable. Szymanowski's Symphony No.3, "The Song of the Night" was probably what drew me to this concert, having heard his Stabat Mater a few years ago. A curious piece, somewhat dazzling and excessive on occasion, and blatantly inspired by Scriabin and Debussy, with Polish text drawn from medieval Arabic poetry. Michael Weinius sang the tenor part, accompanied by the BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC National Chorus of Wales. After the interval, Strauss' An Alpine Symphony was probably more conventional fare, and although I couldn't say I recognised it after all, it was generally very well received in the Hall.


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