Why did no one tell me about Britten’s Piano Concerto earlier?!? Such a beautiful piece of music!
But let’s start at the beginning… The BBC Philharmonic were on stage with a full on force of percussion section for the first piece of the evening – the London premiere of Alberto Ginasteras Ollantay. And what a start to the evening to meant! The South American composer is not an unknown name for me personally – I have previously heard is Estancia and I quite like his music, there is a certain charisma about his music. Based on the Incan legend of Ollantay it took you on quite a journey – and a noisy one at that! It was a beautiful mesmerising performance. Another great new discovery.
The second piece of the night was Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto – Steven Osborne joined the orchestra on stage. Osborne and Mena were having such a unique connection – and since I was seated in the choir seats I could witness this spectacle in full. The piece has such a quirky and playful character. Especially the Waltz – it almost reminded one of Mahlers 3rd Movement of his 1st Symphony. Osborne did a great job a tinkling the ivories – it was the first time I heard his name and him play and I was more than pleasantly surprised. His play is very energetic, yet passionate. His encore – from what I gather from the people around me – a little Ravel piece – was so delicate and he got everybody holding their breath in the hall.
During the interval the whole of the percussion selection disappeared again – those players certainly made it to the bar first 😉
Schubert’s 9th Symphony was filling the second half. I have heard a few bits of Schubert before but not that many and I have never really looked into him. Therefore it was a rather big surprise for me to hear this enchanting piece of music. Once you immerse yourself into this romantic music you can just be carried away.
Having the BBC Phil and Mena – after all, he is their Chief Conductor – you just can’t ask for me. He was quite literally dancing on the podium – conducting the Schubert without a score I was concerned for the musicians closest to him… Both him and the orchestra are so in tune with each other and his gestures – and facial expressions – brought the music to a whole new level! The one minute he seemed like a puppet master, pulling all the strings, the next minute he was the lead dancer, before he turned into the painter – using his baton as the paintbrush and the orchestra as colours – truly magnificent!
Yet again – another great evening with such a varied programme that is typical for the Proms. You just never know where that concert journey is going to take you…