The program for Prom 28 was very standard: overture, concerto, interval, (overture), symphony – not that there’s anything wrong with that! In fact, it’s the first Prom in quite a while to follow that most traditional of set-ups. This Prom also featured two of the most well-known works in the classical repertoire, J Strauss’s Blue Danube waltz and Beethoven’s Symphony No 5.I’m actually quite surprised that this Prom wasn’t listed under the category of ‘Classical for Starters’ on the Proms website.
The first piece in Prom 28 was Johann II Strauss’s waltz By the Beautiful Blue Danube. This must be not only one of the most famous waltzes and pieces of classical music, but also one of the most recognised tunes in the world, in general. But there’s a reason that this piece is so enduringly popular, and that’s because it’s a fabulous piece of music. I like a short overture (or in this case, a waltz) at the start of a concert, and this was no exception.
Prom 28’s second piece was James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto. Vadim Repin was the soloist. This piece was alright, but I didn’t feel it was anything particularly special.
After the interval was an all-Beethoven affair, starting with his overture Coriolan. Beethoven wrote Coriolan at the same time at the same time as the Symphony No. 5, and they do sound similar-ish. Although there was a brief pause and smattering of applause at the end of Coriolan, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Donald Runnicles more or less played straight on into the next piece, which I quite liked, considering the musical similarities of the two.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor rounded up Prom 28. Despite the over-used opening, this really is a wonderful symphony. I especially like the third and the final movements; they’re so ahead of their time, and wouldn’t sound out of place in a modern film score. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra played this beautifully, and was greatly received by the audience.