Prom 29: Vaughan Williams

Sometimes I listen to music I’ve never heard before and find myself thinking how a composer seems to have this amazing ability to write music in such a way that I feel like I’m watching a film.

Inevitably, keen as I am to think of interesting ways to make films, I start imagining how wonderful it would to make a film where a symphony is the only soundtrack.

Of course, there is an obvious flaw in my thinking. Thirty-five minutes of non-stop music would almost certainly be too much to bare. It wouldn’t much different from listening to me for thirty-five minutes non-stop. Some people have. They never do it twice.

What I realise now – after some time – is that if there is music which makes me think it would work well in a film then that is almost certainly a measure of just how successful a composer has been in producing something truly fantastic. To be able to write sound which conjurs up imagery in the mind of a listener who is hearing the work for the first is an amazing achievement.

So it was with Vaughan Williams 6th Symphony this evening in Prom 29. And what better way to listen to its violence, darkness and bleak epilogue than up in the  gallery, laid out on the floor staring up at the ceiling.