John Williams – one of the names that pops up a lot and means something even for non classical mussic fans… so to honour his 85th birthday there was a whole prom dedicated to his music!Starting off with the Raiders March of Raiders of the Lost Ark the evening was off to a great start! Katie Derham was guiding us through the programme with little bits of information about his collaborations and scores he worked on. Of course it is a challenge to select which one of his scores and which particular parts to put on a limited programme of around 2 1/2 hours.
Azeri cellist Jamal Aliyev joined the BBC Concert Orchestra for Sayuir’s Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha. It was such a beautiful subtle piece but sadly the attention of the audience was not as good as it should have been – which was a shame. The audience was significantly younger and expectant of some more excitement by the looks of it so a slower piece was probably not necessarily what they wanted…
For The Tale of Viktor Navorski from The Terminal Annelien van Wauwe came on stage and she was just a delight to listen to! The piece is beautifully playful but also emotional and her clarinet just sang!
Haringey Vox and Music Centre London came on to support the orchestra for Dry Your Tears, Afrika from Amistad. These young voices were so beautiful and just added a totally different layer to this very emotional piece.
One of the highlights of the night – without doubt – Escapade No. 3 from Catch Me If You Can. Jess Gillam, one of the finalists of last years BBC Young Musician of the Year, played the Saxophone part. Wearing a very snazzy trouser suit she absolutely stole the show. Her first ever appearance at the Proms and she was cool as a cucumber and handled it like a pro. Considering she is such a young artist she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her!
Finishing on three tunes from Star Wars it was a finish on a high note.
Even though it was a great evening there was potential for it to be even more spectacular. The BBC Concert Orchestra was doing a great job but towards the end there were sounds of wear and tear within the brass section… other orchestras would have been much more suited to a programme of this epic kind. Keith Lockhart is not a conductor that has grown on me. He conducting is a little unclear and well, how should I put it – a little American… Don’t get me wrong, he is a great conductor but he is just missing a certain oomph…. this little lack of positive energy was rubbing off on the orchestra and there was not quite the drive behind that could have been there….
Walking out of this particular Prom I felt a little disappointed that the evening didn’t quite live up the standard it should’ve been to really pay tribute to one of the most inspiring composers of today’s day and age…