Home » BBC Proms 2013 » Prom 8: Britten, Lutosławski & Thomas Adès – Review

Prom 8: Britten, Lutosławski & Thomas Adès – Review

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A night of quite modern music, including a world premiere by Thomas Adès, Prom 8 also featured works by Benjamin Britten and Witold Lutosławski. It was a rather intense Prom, with music full of some rather dark themes, but it was brilliant music all the same.

The first piece of Prom 8 was Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem.  I would assume I’ve heard this piece before, but this was stunning. Could this be my favourite work by Britten? After this performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, definitely. The opening bars are really suck you in, and then the music continues to hold you for its 20 minute duration. It’s a rather haunting piece, and at time, goodness it’s intense!  I love the beat of ‘duuun dun-dun dun-dun  dun-dun’(that probably makes no sense, but oh well!). I really loved this piece and am quite blown away, and would have been quite content if this was the only piece played in Prom 8! I did enjoy Britten’s Sea Interludes from First Night, but this was something else altogether. If you’ve only got 20 minutes, listen to the Sinfonia da Requiem in Prom 8 on iPlayer.

The outstanding Britten was followed by Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Cello. This was good, but compared to that Britten beforehand, it didn’t quite stand up to it. The concerto builds throughout and has a big ending, and I enjoyed it more towards the end. Cello soloist Paul Watkins played very well all the same, and there was a huge applause at the end.

After interval was the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ Totentanz. I thought it sounded a little Wagner-esque, with the soloists Christianne Stotijn and Simon Keenlyside. It was pretty full on through the middle. It was good, but after a very full-on first act, sometimes you need something a bit lighter in Act II.

(My photo of the Royal Albert Hall).

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