Home » BBC Proms 2013 » Prom 71: Górecki, Vaughan Williams & Tchaikovsky Review

Prom 71: Górecki, Vaughan Williams & Tchaikovsky Review

Prom 71 (part 2): Gorecki, Vaughan Williams & Tchaikovsky

Prom 71 is a rather big Prom, with not one, but two symphonies, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with conductor Osmo Vänskä. This is the BBCSO’s 10th of 11 Proms this season; their final Prom will of course be Last Night on Saturday night (UK time). The Proms Tchaikovsky symphony cycle also continues with Prom 71 featuring his final work, the beautiful Symphony No. 6.

The Prom began with Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’, a rather mammoth work, with a running time of just under an hour. This piece is not called ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ for nothing – the entire symphony is particularly melancholy, and quite properly sad. Ruby Hughes n was the soprano, and I must say, she was outstanding. Despite this being a very sad piece of work, it is also beautiful, and was excellently performed by the BBCSO.

Ralph Vaughn Williams’s Four Last Songs (orch. A. Payne) followed after interval, with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston as soloist. This was nice, but after the excellent symphony beforehand, it didn’t quite hit the mark.

The final piece of this Prom was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, ‘Pathétique’. This piece originally premiered in October 1893, with the composer as conductor, and then Tchaikovsky died only nine days later. This symphony is extremely popular in the classical repertoire, but it’s not my favourite of the Tchaikovsky symphonies; I much prefer 4, 5 and 1. But it is still a beautiful piece, and the BBCSO once again were fabulous.

Only two more ‘normal’ Proms to go before Last Night! I hope everyone’s been practicing their singing!

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