qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Travels in Time and Space

Prom 64 on Friday was given by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski. I used to think this was the poor relation of the other major London orchestras, but I would say Jurowski has improved them considerably. The concert began with Bantock's The Witch of Atlas, a rather more calm piece than you might expect from the title. I'd picked this prom out for the next work, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, with pianist Anika Vavic. Perhaps I wasn't in the best spot in the arena, because the piano did drown out one or two orchestral sections, but overall I enjoyed the performance. In the second half we had Sibelius' Pohjola's Daughter, and Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra. Sometimes a musician can play a wrong note in a crowd and get away with it; if that note is on the biggest organ in the country, there's nowhere to hide. I suspect it was actually the right note but with the wrong stops, probably very easy to do with what must be a fiendishly complicated instrument. Overall it was a good performance but I don't think it will be making its way to CD.

Prom 65, the film music prom, had been a sell-out for seats for some time, so I knew the queue would be busy and I was a few rows back, though still well into the front third of the arena. The first half was focused on British films, mostly though not all around the war period: Alwyn's The True Glory, Walton's Battle of Britain, Richard Rodney Bennett's Lady Caroline Lamb, Leighton Lucas' Ice Cold in Alex and Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto. The BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by Keith Lockhart and joined by Lawrence Power on the viola (for the Richard Rodney Bennett) and Valentina Lisitsa (for the Addinsell). Some of this was new to me whilst others were old favourites. The second half switched to sci-fi: starting with a reprise of the opening "Sunrise" from Also sprach Zarathustra (in which I definitely preferred the overall approach of Jurowski and the LPO) and two other pieces featured prominently in 2001: A Space Odyssey: Ligeti's Atmospheres and Johann Strauss' (slightly cut) Blue Danube waltz. Following on, we boldly ventured into some less familiar music for me: Michael Giacchino's Star Trek: Into Darkness, David Arnold's Independence Day and Jerry Goldsmith's Alien, before finishing on more familiar ground with music from Star Wars by John Williams. There's a lot of music to choose from, so I was pleased with the four numbers chosen: The Imperial March, Princess Leia's theme, The Cantina Band (the brass and percussion clearly enjoyed themselves throughout the evening although the woodwind was perhaps a little drowned out here), and Main Titles. It wasn't clear to me that any encore would be appropriate, but it turned out we were going to get one and it worked: Superman.
Tags: music
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