Prom 17 was ‘a concert of music inspired by or written for dance’, and I rather did like the programming of it. This was probably the second Prom of the season where you missed quite a bit listening to it on iPlayer, rather than seeing it live (the first being the Doctor Who Prom).
Prom 17 began with a world premiere, this time of John McCabe’s Joybox. This five-minute piece reminded me quite a bit of the Tango from Shostakovich’s Bolt Suite, (which I love) which goes mad in the middle and has everyone playing slightly different things at different time, but all comes together massively at the end. Joybox was a little like that, only it was quite at the end. It was good, but, eh.
Ludwig von Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 was the second piece of the first Act. The third movement of this symphony has become synonymous with The King’s Speech film, as it is the music used during the climax, when King George VI addresses the Empire at the outbreak of WWII. The third movement always gives me shivers, and it continued to do so in this performance. There was applause after the second and third movements, and huge applause at the end, so I guess I’m not the only one who liked what I heard!
The first piece of the second act was by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s, with his Three Cornered Hat. There were dancers and props used for this piece, which would be fantastic: only it’s a bit hard to see them when you’re listening on iPlayer! Great for the RAH audience, however. There was MASSIVE applause part way through. I mean the music was good, but I’m guessing the audience saw something great that we poor folk listening on the radio missed! I did enjoy this piece: quite stereotypical Spanish-style music, but it was good, and by the audience reaction, the Antonio Márquez Company were quite something!
The final piece was Ravel’s Bolero. I know this is a very devise piece: people tend to either love it or absolutely loath the piece. Thankfully for this Prom, I like it. It’s one of those pieces of classical music that have been used in numerous popular TV shows and movies. The one it always reminds me of is Doctor Who, The Satan Pit and The Beast Below, when the Doctor and Rose get stranded on a meteorite that should be falling into a black hole, but is not. Bolero is used in those episodes by the people on the base on this meteorite as their shift change-over music (this probably makes no sense to people who haven’t seen this episode/no nothing about Doctor Who, but oh well. It’s a good double episode).
In this Prom, Bolero was danced along to by members the Antonio Márquez Company, whose stamping and jumping could be heard in the recording. I’m sure it looked fantastic, but, just via iPlayer, it was a bit annoying to be perfectly honest, as it wasn’t necessarily completely in time with the music. The BBC Philharmonic played beautifully, and I think Bolero was my favourite piece of Prom 17. And, after the piece had finished, the orchestra encored it, and the audience clapped along. Got to love a bit of audience participation. That’s what the Proms are all about!