qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Classical Tectonics

After the popularity of Monday's concert, I wondered what the queue would be like for Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on Friday. I was running a little late due to the Reading Festival and so I was quite surprised by the short queue, not even half way down the steps from the Albert Hall, and I comfortably got a good spot in the second row.

The concert was styled "Classical Tectonics" in the Proms guide, and the two unfamiliar Icelandic works may have put some people off. In the event, neither was unpleasing. The pre-Prom talk was on Icelandic culture and focussed on sagas and Nordic noir.

It was the first visit of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra to the Proms, so as tradition dictates, the Prommers gave a greeting in pidgin Icelandic - at least it seemed to be appreciated. Both Icelandic pieces were inspired by the landscape, though not of the pastoral style - the opening work of the concert was Haukar Tómasson's Magma, perhaps bubbling and frothing from time to time, but also heaving and lumbering. Jonathan Biss was the soloist in Schumann's Piano Concerto; it's not one of my favourite works of the genre, but it was played with great clarity and he also gave some further Schumann (Der Dichter Spricht) as an encore.

The second half began with Jón Leifs' Geysir, apparently one of his better known works and certainly quite accessible. Finally, the work I had really come to see: Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. I often find that I rather take Beethoven for granted, so hearing a work live is a welcome reminder of just how good it is. The orchestra gave two encores - fortunately the BBC Proms Twitter Feed lists them: Leifs' Consolation for Strings, and Sigvaldi Kaldalóns' Á Sprengisandi.
Tags: music
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.