BBC Proms 2017 / 5: Sibelius 7 / Rachamninov Piano Concerto No. 2 / Shostakovich 10

Sibelius 7 was interesting but didn’t stir me especially. I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ve ever Sibelius 7 before and, if I haven’t, I wonder whether its not played that much. And if that the case, I wonder whether the clue is in the work itself.

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 – a crowd-pleasing ‘workhorse’ in the repertoire – seemed a little wooden. Some tuning issues between the solo piano and orchestra as a whole (most noticeable in the exposed bassoon and piano solo). Rocky ensemble between piano and orchestra in places too. The cheer was loud from the hall (suggesting the acoustic muffles such errors). It was a performance which left me feeling a little ‘meh’ – a word I generally don’t use and, I understand, is one which even the young people don’t use either now.

Shostakovich 10 was an entirely different matter. A dazzling performance combining immense beauty with the kind of tightly-controlled and hugely effective anger that took my breath away. This was the BBC NOW at their best yet again.

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BBC Proms 2017 / 1: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 / John Adams Harmonium

First half disappointing.

Beethoven seemed a bit bashy. The cadenza in the first movement revealed character. Second movement too. Didn’t really feel what everyone seemed to be feeling. All felt a bit hollow. Encore seemed a bit laboured.

Harmonium was a revelation. Stunning. Restorative. Chorus struggled with a demanding vocal score, but that didn’t diminish from what was a remarkable half hour of television. Heart was pounding.

3/5 (via TV)

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Philharmonia’s digital work gets a shot in the arm

The Philharmonia’s reputation as a digital innovator has been further enhanced, with funding from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation for a senior research and development development role. The new position is taken up by the outgoing Digital Director Luke Ritchie. As head of Digital Innovation and Partnerships, Ritchie will be taking digital projects, making money out of them, and creating new connections with tech companies.

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