Prom 27 was certainly a long one, with two intervals and each of the three pieces running for over 40 minutes. The Proms cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies continued in Prom 27, this time with his Symphony No. 5. It was the Royal Scottish National Orchestra who performed this rather marathon Prom, and they sounded suburb to the very end.
The world premiere of Punjab-born British composer Naresh Sohal’s The Cosmic Dance was the first piece of this Prom. This was my favourite of the half-dozen or so premieres that I’ve heard from the Proms this season. I wasn’t completely blown away, but I did enjoy it.
The second piece was Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, and bizarrely, the shortest work of the night, running for an approximate 41 minutes! The opening of this concerto is very famous and is a beautiful opening to this piece, which is regarded as one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the classical repertoire, but there’s a reason it’s so popular, and that’s because it makes for very good listening. Soloist Nikolai Lugansky was excellent, as was the RSNO.
The final piece for Prom 27 was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor. This symphony was written just the year before he wrote Sleeping Beauty, and towards the end of the first movement in particular, you can hear themes that were later recycled for the ballet (not that I’m complaining!). This Prom was conductor Peter Oundjian first outing at the Proms, and he conducted this piece without a score! This was a particularly good rendition of this symphony, I thought. The RSNO just oozed energy, and considering that before they’d even started playing this piece they’d already played close to two hours’ worth of music already, this was no mean feat! But this is such a fantastic piece of music, and (yes I know I’m biased toward Tchaikovsky) was by far my favourite piece of this Prom.
(My photo, taken in December 2011. I don’t actually attend the Proms, on account of living in Australia, I just listen via the BBC iPlayer).