Goodness that’s a long title! Thankfully, however, this wasn’t an overly long Prom. Prom 30 was, however, easily one of my favourites for the season so far. I do not think I have heard an orchestra play as well throughout this year’s Proms season as the BBC Philharmonic with conductor Gianandrea Noseda did in this Prom. They were absolutely fantastic. They were noticeably good. I mean, every orchestra is always good, but when you actually think “gee, these guys are good!”, well, it’s quite something. That probably doesn’t make an awful lot of sense, but oh well. And if they sound this good through iPlayer, I can only imagine how they would have sounded live.
Up first was Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor overture and Polovtsian Dances. We haven’t had many actual overtures as overtures to the concerts this year, and I do love a good overture (I have a Playlist called ‘Overtures’ on my iPhone!). This overture and the Polovtsian Dances were FANTASTIC. The BBC Philharmonic were on fire; absolutely brilliant. I love a big, bouncing overture (and dances) to kick off a concert, and these really hit the spot. Loved it.
Following the brilliant opening was Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor. Now, I thought that the opening was going to be hard to follow, and I thought that the Prokofiev wasn’t going to make it – until the 41:33-ish mark on iPlayer. My goodness! Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, you are very good, but it was the BBC Philharmonic who really blew me away. A lot of this piano concerto does sound very Soviet-Russia, which, of course, it is. It’s not my favourite piece of Prokofiev, but it’s still good (especially at 41:33!).
The first piece of Act II was the world premiere of Edward Cowie’s piece Earth Music The Great Barrier Reef . I really enjoyed this. The introduction begins with a lot of percussion, and it a very strong introduction too. In fact, the percussion throughout this piece was amazing. There aren’t too many pieces where the percussion gets to shine, and I do love hearing them in full-force like this.
The first piece of Act II was the world premiere of Edward Cowie’s piece Earth Music The Great Barrier Reef. I really enjoyed this. The introduction begins with a lot of percussion, and it a very strong introduction too. In fact, the percussion throughout this piece was amazing. There aren’t too many pieces where the percussion gets to shine, and I do love hearing them in full-force like this.
The final piece for Prom 30 was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, ‘Little Russian’, continuing the cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies. The early symphonies (1, 2, 3 and Manfred – yes, I know Manfred is later, but it still doesn’t get the concert time!) don’t get played as much as the 4, 5 and 6, but they really should. I’ll admit that the ‘Little Russian’ isn’t quite 4 or 5, but it’s still a fantastic piece, and I like the traditional Russian themes woven throughout it. It’s big and bold and really just a lot of fun. And, as they were throughout this whole Prom, the BBC Phil were once again amazing. This also sounded to be enjoyed immensly by the audience in the Royal Albert Hall, deservedly so.
For very happy, big, romantic-era (or at least, romantic-era, some Prokofiev and a world premiere) classical music – you really can’t go past Prom 30. One of the highlights of the season.