Last night's Prom with the Orchestre National de France was a bit of an oeuf de curé. Perhaps I was tired from the holiday; perhaps the rain in Hyde Park and somewhat damp autumnalness around the Albert Hall didn't help; perhaps the consequent persistent shortness of the queue (maybe also due to South West Trains being on strike) didn't inspire. Hans Werner Henze's Five Messages for the Queen of Sheba was a lot better than I had expected, even with a mobile phone going off at the end of one of them (with Kurt Masur and the orchestra visibly and deservedly displeased), although the pieces were not inspiring enough to make me want to go and see the whole opera. But the second half, Shostakovich's Symphony No 7 (Leningrad), was a disappointment - it had a certain negative je ne sais quoi. That's not to say it was all bad - the arrangement of the orchestra on the podium, with violas on the right and brass spread on both sides at the back, did work rather well, and the menacing finale was well presented. Of course they could build up the climactic fortissimo sections, but there was something missing. I don't know whether it was Masur, the orchestra, or the combination, but it seemed to be a Russian symphony played in a rather disinterested Gallic way.