Proms 2009: Prom 38 – Rite of Spring Stravinsky BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Ilan Volkov

There were other items on the programme for Prom 38, but unfortunately Ravel’s La Valse and the world premiere of a BBC commission of Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto were history in comparison to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

If you don’t believe me, then you might want to listen to this AudioBoo. I offer no apologies for what you hear. It’s one of those “from the heart” things most people turn their noses up at .. and I don’t care.

Or, if you prefer something a little more considered, you could always listen to Radio 3 Interactive Social Media Elf Samara Ginsberg talk to Millicent Hodson about the Rite of Spring premiere. There was a riot apparently.

Listen to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s cracking performance of the Rite on Radio 3 or you could watch the BBC Four broadcast presented by Suzy Klein and her team of pundits in the box if you’re so inclined.

Prom 41: Oh dear God


I was tired tonight. I had a rare work-spurt early this morning. My tiredness was understandable.So, when I arrived home earlier than usual, I figured I’d relax, have a bath, maybe a beer, maybe even a beer before my bath and then, finally settle down to tonight’s Prom live on BBC 4. It would be my early-week treat, if such a term exists.

I plumped the cushions and cracked open beer number one just as American jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and two other chappies strolled onto the Royal Albert Hall ahead of a new performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Oooh, I thought, that will be nice.

And they were .. very nice. They were .. very good. They were .. clearly able to deliver astonishing moments of clarity in the kind of jazz improvisation which does (I’m sorry to confess) always leave absolutely deflated.

To be fair, Gershwin’s cartoon music is well-known. It’s almost supermarket music, it’s so well-known. Consequently if you’re used to the “traditional” recordings of it, any new intrepretations with big drum sequences, alternative rhythms and groovy solo double bass lines is always going to be a little challenging.

But I can confirm that this was a performance which left me feeling a little disappointed. I am open minded and I did want to enjoy it, but the thing is it really didn’t push any of the right buttons for me.

Interesting though. And I almost certainly would have tripped up the principal clarinettist of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on his way in to the Royal Albert Hall this evening if only to get an opportunity to play the solo he had this evening.