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Review : Prom 59, Life Story Prom at the Royal Albert Hall – 30th August 2015

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Prom 59 saw distinguished naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough present a concert inspired by his recent BBC Television series, Life Story. The BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Jeremy Holland-Smith played excerpts from Murray Gold’s soundtrack from the series.

Most Proms are concerned with the wonderful music produced, however the Life Story Prom had the added bonus of Sir David introducing sequences from the series played on big screens. Life Story is considered a landmark series for its use of cutting edge technology to illustrate the natural world in ways never broadcast before.

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Photo BBC

The arrival of Sir David on stage was greeted with rapturous applause which gives some indication of the high esteem, the naturalist and broadcaster is held by the general public.
The opening Life Story Overture with accompanying montage from the series shown on the large screen gave some insight into the extraordinary diversity of nature and the grand themes developed throughout the series. For all the grand themes, the sequences illustrated that each creature had its own amazing story both visually and musically. The next piece, Albatross Prelude follows a waved Albatross in the Galapagos Islands waiting for long-standing mate to return, the music incorporates the soaring beauty of the flight of the bird and the predicament of the bird has it waited, its eyes trained on the horizon. This sequence provided a clear example of how music can enhance a visual story to provide a powerful narrative.

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Photo BBC

This is the point that Sir David Attenborough was keen to make as he introduced the sequences and the following pieces, Mantis, Fur Seals and Octopus  provided evidence of  how the drama on the screen is matched by the drama of the music. The Hermit Crabs introduces another element with Murray Gold composing a calypso to reference their location in Belize. The composer joined Sir David on stage to give some insight into the process of providing music for the series, Murray Gold considered the animals themselves suggested the character of the music.

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Photo BBC

For all the quality of the filming and the music, one of the attractions of nature programmes is the life and death drama. The final piece of the first half, Meerkats vs Cobra bought this type of drama into focus, the playful exuberance of the meerkats is disturbed by the presence of a deadly foe.  Gold’s evocative score captured the dramatic change of mood as the meerkats play turned into something far more serious.

Another montage, Hunt began the second half followed by a heart warming and sentimental Chimp. On the prairies of Montana, Grouse strut their stuff and shake their feathers and the animated and infectious music reflected the birds frenzied display. Turtles portrayed the perils of mating before the extraordinary artistic endeavours of the Japanese Puffer Fish who spends days creating a large intricate symmetrical circular pattern in the sand on the sea bed. To finish generations of Elephants move slowly through the East African landscape and pass the bones of dead elephants, the message is clear from the pictures and the music that life and death are the most important aspects of any Life Story.

The enthusiastic applause from the audience indicated that the experience of watching extraordinary sequences of nature accompanied by a live orchestra was a memorable one. It is probably one of the rare times that the conductor and the orchestra are not the centre of attention, however the richness and power of the music in a live arena added considerably to the experience. The Proms willingness to add variety to the season provides the opportunity to attend Proms that bring together different mediums to produce something special. Where else would you can watch  high quality footage from a ground breaking television series  accompanied by a world class orchestra with introductions by one of the legends of broadcasting ?

If you would like to attend future Proms, even when seats for a Prom have sold out, it is still possible to attend if you don’t mind standing in the arena or the gallery. With a large number of tickets available for every Prom at the  price of £5, it is one of the bargains of the summer.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the Proms or buy a ticket, visit the Proms website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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Prom 66: Beethoven, Schoenberg and Shostakovich at the Royal Albert Hall – 4th September 2015

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Prom 66: Beethoven, Schoenberg & Shostakovich
19:30 Friday 4 Sep 2015,  Royal Albert Hall

Programme

Beethoven
Fidelio – overture  (7 mins)

Schoenberg
Piano Concerto   (20 mins)

INTERVAL

Shostakovich
Symphony No. 8 in C minor   (64 mins)

Mitsuko Uchida   piano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski   conductor

Acclaimed pianist Mitsuko Uchida makes a welcome return to the Proms for Schoenberg’s rarely heard Piano Concerto.  Autobiography is  at the fore in Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony. Composed in 1943, at a particularly dark moment for Russia in the war, the work is a fragile statement of hope that the composer himself summarised as: ‘All that is dark and oppressive will disappear; all that is beautiful will triumph.’

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Proms website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Prom 67: Bernstein – Stage and Screen at the Royal Albert Hall on 5th September 2015

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Prom 67: Bernstein – Stage and Screen
17:30 Saturday 5 Sep 2015,  Royal Albert Hall

Louise Dearman   vocalist
Lucy Schaufer   mezzo-soprano
Scarlett Strallen   vocalist, Proms debut artist
Julian Ovenden   vocalist
Maida Vale Singers
John Wilson Orchestra
John Wilson   conductor

John Wilson and his orchestra are an annual Proms highlight, bringing the glitz and glamour of old-time stage and screen to the Royal Albert Hall. The second of their two performances this year is all about Leonard Bernstein – America’s multitalented conductor, pianist and composer. He reinvented the musical with the anger, energy and feral beauty of West Side Story, his updated take on Romeo and Juliet. A starry cast of soloists including Proms favourite Julian Ovenden and the West End’s Louise Dearman join the John Wilson Orchestra and Maida Vale Singers for a tribute to the composer that includes Bernstein’s biggest hits as well as a selection of rarities.

There will be one interval

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Proms website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Prom 69: Orff – Carmina Burana at the Royal Albert Hall on 6th September 2015

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Prom 69: Orff – Carmina Burana
19:30 Sunday 6 Sep 2015,  Royal Albert Hall

Programme

Saint-Saëns
Danse macabre   (8 mins)

Guy Barker
The Lanterne of Light
BBC commission: world premiere (30 mins)

INTERVAL

Orff
Carmina Burana  (65 mins)

Charles Mutter   violin
Alison Balsom   trumpet
Olena Tokar   soprano
Thomas Walker   tenor
Benjamin Appl   baritone
Southend Boys’ Choir
Southend Girls’ Choir
BBC Concert Orchestra
BBC Symphony Chorus
London Philharmonic Choir
Keith Lockhart   conductor

This year’s free Prom is an ideal opportunity to introduce family and friends to classical music. The ever popular Carmina burana  – a choral cantata based on a medieval text charting the joys, fickleness and excesses of human life. The BBC Concert Orchestra’s Composer-in-Association Guy Barker provides a new concerto for trumpet virtuoso Alison Balsom and the orchestra’s own Charles Mutter is the soloist in Saint-Saëns’s devilish Danse macabre.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Proms website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Prom 71: St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall – 8th September 2015

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Prom 71: St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
19:30 Tuesday 8 Sep 2015,  Royal Albert Hall

Programme

Rimsky-Korsakov

The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh
symphonic pictures (13 mins)

Tchaikovsky

Violin Concerto  (33 mins)

INTERVAL

Elgar
‘Enigma’ Variations  (29 mins)

Julia Fischer   violin
St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (c.1925-91, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra)
Yuri Temirkanov   conductor

Yuri Temirkanov  leads the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra into a Russian first half of the Prom featuring works by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky. The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto will feature  acclaimed violinist, Julia Fischer . The second half  brings one of the Prom favourites,  Elgar’s  ‘Enigma’ Variations.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Proms website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Prom 75: Elgar – The Dream of Gerontius at the Royal Albert Hall on 11th September 2015

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Prom 75: Elgar – The Dream of Gerontius
19:30 Friday 11 Sep 2015,  Royal Albert Hall

Elgar
The Dream of Gerontius, Op 38  (96 mins)

Magdalena Kožená   mezzo-soprano
Toby Spence   tenor
Roderick Williams   baritone
BBC Proms Youth Choir
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle   conductor

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in one of Elgar’s great oratorios, The Dream of Gerontius. In one of the highlights of the Proms, Sir Simon Rattle and the orchestra are joined by The BBC Proms Youth Choir which returns for its fourth festival appearance, soloists Toby Spence and Roderick Williams, with Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená as the Angel.

There will be one interval

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Proms website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Prom 76: Last Night of the Proms 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall – 12th September 2015

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Prom 76: Last Night of the Proms 2015
19:15 Saturday 12 September  2015,  Royal Albert Hall

Programme

Eleanor Alberga
Arise, Athena!
BBC commission: world premiere (3 mins)

Shostakovich
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major   (20 mins)

Arvo Pärt
Credo  (12 mins)

Richard Strauss
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche  (16 mins)

Puccini

Tosca
Recondita armonia (3 mins)

Manon Lescaut
Donna non vidi mai (3 mins)

Turandot
Nessun dorma (3 mins)

INTERVAL

Johnson
Victory Stride  (4 mins)

Copland
Old American Songs
‘I bought me a cat’ (3 mins)

Grieg
Peer Gynt, Op 23
Morning (4 mins)

Gould
Boogie Woogie Etude  (2 mins)

Lehár
The Land of Smiles
‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’ (4 mins)

Rodgers
The Sound of Music
medley (6 mins)

Wood
Fantasia on British Sea-Songs
Jack’s the Lad (Hornpipe); Home, Sweet Home (6 mins)

Arne
Rule, Britannia! (arr. Sargent)  (5 mins)

Elgar
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major (‘Land of Hope and Glory’)  (8 mins)

Parry
Jerusalem (orch. Elgar)  (3 mins)

The National Anthem (arr. Britten)  (3 mins)

Auld Lang Syne (arr. Cedric Thorpe Davie)  (2 mins)

Benjamin Grosvenor   piano
Danielle de Niese   soprano
Jonas Kaufmann   tenor
BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop   conductor

Marin Alsop conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the Proms  finale that has all the usual Last Night favourites. Jonas Kaufmann is the tenor and  Danielle de Niese the soprano  with Benjamin Grosvenor  on piano. Eleanor Alberga’s  Arise, Athena receives its world premiere  in the first part which also features work from Shostakovich, Pärt, Richard Strauss and Puccini.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Proms website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here