Prom 13 was performed by the very new (as in, only formed this Northern summer) National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (I will from now on refer to them as the NYOUSA). I’m always so amazed by Youth Orchestras; to my more-or-less completely untrained ear, they sound every bit as good as the professional big boy orchestras do. The line-up for Prom 13 was good, featuring Shostakovich Symphony No 10, and Tchaikovsky, the first we’ve heard of his music this Proms season.
Up first was American composer Sean Sheperd’s piece (overture?) Magiya. This piece was ok, but it didn’t do a lot for me. I find that pieces like this can be better if you’re actually there, rather than listening through iPlayer 10,000 miles away (of course, it all sounds better if you’re actually there, but still). So yeah, good but not great.
The second piece was Pietyr Illych Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. I’m a little biased here, as Tchaikovsky is my favourite composer, hands down. But this was so beautifully played by soloist Joshua Bell (and, of course, the NYOUSA). I can’t fault it. And the finale is so Tchaikovsky, but I love it. If you only listen to one piece of Prom 13, make it this one.
The Violin Concerto received an encore, and Joshua Bell played Tchaikovsky arr. Lascae Melodie Op. 42 from Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher. Again, beautiful.
After interval was Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 in E Minor. This is one of my favourite symphonies, so I’d been looking forward to it. It’s a big piece, and was played wonderfully by the NYOUSA. The last two minutes or so of this symphony is just amazing, and I love the way this symphony ends (I have quite a thing for openings and closings, as you may have noticed!). For a new, young orchestra, the NYOUSA played extremely well, and I quite enjoyed this.
PS: I’m not going to be listening to/reviewing Wagner’s Ring Cycle which is performed this week, partly because I don’t have four hours a night to listen to each of the four operas, partly because how many times can I say “It was long and loud and everyone sang and played good and thank goodness it’s now over because $%!# it’s long!” So I’ll review the Chamber Prom instead, and, of course, Proms 16 and 17.