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BBC Proms 2021

Discussion in 'classical' started by Tony L, Jul 30, 2021.

  1. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Malcolm Arnold's 5th Symphony (the first by one of our greatest symphonists at a Prom since 1996!) last night was a decent enough performance once it got going... and the audience perfectly behaved, as is usual... and the interval talk was interesting... but

    ...the Albert Hall seems to have air conditioning (for understandable reasons) turned right up. I found it clearly audible on Radio 3 between movements. Is anybody else noticing it?

    I would find it pointless going to live music with an audible blower running all the time. Perhaps others just aren't bothered by it...
     
    narabdela likes this.
  2. Scampy4

    Scampy4 pfm Member

    It's not as if it's that hot at the moment. With a reduced audience as well, it won't be as hot and steamy as it can become on those warm, packed summer nights (especially with the TV lights).
     
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Is the audience reduced? Looks fairly full on TV to me.

    PS Last night’s Joshua Bell Four Seasons on BBC4 was rather good IMO.
     
  4. Scampy4

    Scampy4 pfm Member

    I may be mistaken. I've seen only one of the televised proms (the Vikingur Olafsson Mozart/Bach concerti) and the arena looked sparsely populated.
     
  5. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    I think the arena is reduced capacity, partly because of the extended stage so the bands can social distance.

    I've been conscious that many performances have suffered from poor ensemble, and it's understandable. Notable exceptions were the first night Sibelius, the NYO's fantastic Erioca and actually last night's Walton/Arnold. I've not listened to everything by a mile, but I've been disappointed by more than I've been delighted by, sadly.
     
    Barrymagrec likes this.
  6. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    The importance of close proximity of the players is very difficult to deal with and I agree that the degree of true ensemble not only is hard to achieve when the players are spread out [for Covid reasons], but the inevitable lack of precise ensemble has spoiled my enjoyment of the music all too often this season, and the ventilation noise is not so grand in quiet music.

    I wonder when we can get back to normal? We are going to have to live with Covid variants for many years to come or even for the foreseeable future.

    Best wishes from George
     
    Nic Robinson likes this.
  7. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    CBSO socially distanced at Symphony Hall are just as tight as usual - maybe the Albert Hall does not lend itself to tight ensemble when players are spread out.

    The air conditioning is turned up, I reckon, for pandemic reasons rather than temperature ones!
     
  8. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    I'm sure that's the case. It's hard enough to play in during normal times, according to my instrumentalist friends.
     
    Dozey likes this.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Rather enjoyed the George Lewis (just finished now BBC4). Nice to see them platform some really ‘out there’ stuff (Lewis has worked with John Zorn, Anthony Braxton etc, and this was an almost Stockhausen-like electronic processing approach to orchestral music).
     
  10. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Is the Sinfonia of London the best orchestra in Britain (maybe Europe) at the moment, or what? :)

    And tonight's engineering is pretty damn good too!
     
  11. lordsummit

    lordsummit Moderator

    The Albert Hall is a very strange place to play in, the sound feels like it’s one of those halls where even at the best of times it feels like you are playing on your own, and other members of the orchestra feel very distant. The resonance doesn’t help either. It’s better when you are playing large tutti passages, but it’s quite hard to hear one side of the orchestra from the other it must be even worse when you are spaced out as they are, so hard to hear others in their section, unity of articulation and phrasing must be very difficult.
     
    Nic Robinson likes this.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Three hours of Bach’s St Matthew Passion tonight starting about now. Yay!
     
  13. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    Heard it live last night - splendid.

    Bach Goldberg variations at the moment.
     
  14. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

    Heard it tonight (and on quite a few occasions previously) and was reflecting once again on the finale. As musical themes go, its staggering beauty takes some beating.
     
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    It is an astonishing work. I am an atheist yet it totally transcends the religious context, unquestionably one of the greatest musical works. I find the different approaches to it fascinating, tonight’s Prom being a more period setting. My vinyl copy and introduction to the work is the now highly collectable 1962 Klemperer Columbia SAX. A full nine sides that takes far longer than tonight’s performance and is of a vastly larger orchestral scale. I like both approaches, though there is an astonishing majesty and gravitas to the Klemperer.



    Here’s the Klemperer. He sure takes his time, but it works!
     
  16. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

    @Tony L, these are my silver and black versions. I think I first heard the theme during the car explosion scene in Casino so bought the Naxos sampler to investigate further. The full CD version soon followed. The LP box I bought for £2 in Loros, Leicester on the basis that it was apparent ex-library stock and appeared unplayed.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    That`s an all star no expense spared Walter Legge recording, very fine in my opinion, I have it on CD.
     
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    [​IMG]

    Here’s mine, it’s actually one of my most valuable classical albums as it’s the blue-silver stereo 1st press. I found it in a charity shop for a fiver! It is a superb sounding record and in really nice condition aside from one corner split to the box and the original printed poly inners having failed to the extent they needed replacing (thankfully any residue cleaned off the vinyl perfectly).

    I also have the John Elliot Gardiner ‘Sacred Works’ box on CD which includes the St Matthew’s Passion. I realise I’m out of fashion with modern tastes and more historically correct thinking, but I do much prefer the Klemperer! I’m the same with Beethoven, I go for the Karajan 60s DGG cycle over any modern period correct interpretation I’ve heard. I just like the scale and gravity to it. I think the basic reality is modern (i.e. past couple of hundred years) instruments and tuning just sounds better to my ears. I really want to like the lighter period correct stuff as it is clearly ‘more right’, but in the end I just reach for the ‘wrong’.
     
    narabdela, BrianPK and Barrymagrec like this.
  19. gingermrkettle

    gingermrkettle Deep vein trombonist

    You have to listen to the Herreweghe St Matthew for just how good period performance can be. Then listen to both of the B Minor Mass recordings for good measure.
     
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  20. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

    Back on topic, I loved the newly adapted Barber Adagio. The voices suited the nakedly emotional theme very well, I thought.
     

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