BBC Proms - PCM4 and Prom33

Royal Albert Hall - BBC Proms

Yesterday, I travelled to London in order to go to the Proms. As I've previously mentioned, I walked around central London for most of the day, and if it weren't for the papers, I wouldn't have known anything was amiss. Though I do think that the majority of casual visitors to London would be unaffected by these events, this is not true for residents and my thoughts are with those who live in London. I don't want to add further to the chattering heads surrounding the riots, so instead I'll concentrate upon the Proms.

I arrived at Cadogan Hall (just north of Sloane Square) for a 1pm recital by Katia Buniatishvili (link live until lunchtime, 15th August 2011). The stage had nothing but a piano, and following an introduction from the Radio 3 presenter, Katia emerged in stage. This was a stunning lady, elegant in a glistening black dress. She sat at the piano, adjusted her clothing so that her feet would not be obstructed, and began to play. It was wonderful to watch, her hands flowed over the keyboard in a way that made it seem like she didn't have joints in her fingers.

I closed my eyes and listened (and came dangerously close to a dreamlike state - hope I didn't snore...). That sounds like a bad thing, it wasn't. It was a beautiful performance.

At the end of the recital, she did several 'curtain calls' (despite there being no curtain). The applause seemed to go on forever....

After what I thought was the last one, I left.... and then.... an encore. Chopin's fourth prelude. Fortunately at Cadogan Hall they put TVs in the foyer with a live feed.

The published schedule was:

  • Liszt - Piano Sonata in B minor (30 mins)
  • Liszt - Liebesträume - No. 3: O Lieb, so lang du lieben kannst! (5 mins)
  • Prokofiev - Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major

I wandered London for most of the afternoon, and then met with Monica to go to the Royal Albert Hall. We were to see the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (link available until the evening of the 15th August 2011). I was amused to hear on BBC Radio 3 that the 'audience were on their feet' to welcome the conductor - the people in the pit certainly were, they had no seats... the rest of us, less so.

We were in the east choir, so were behind the percussionist, with views out over the auditorium and toward the conductor, Sakari Oramo. It was wonderful to be able to see the range of expressions on his face, though I do wonder how an orchestra would fair without the conductor, it'd be interesting to see sometime!

For Grieg's Piano Concerto, Alice Sara Ott played piano. It shows my depth of classical education that I couldn't help thinking 'she played all the right notes....'. Morecambe and Wise is synonymous with Grieg for me!

That said, Morecambe and Wise was pushed from my head for the duration of the performance - Grieg's piano concerto is wonderful.

Alice Sara Ott's encore was the best piece of the day for me, Liszt's La Campanella - her fingers dancing up and down the keys moved so fast at times they almost blurred.

The published schedule was:

  • Sibelius - Symphony No. 6 in D minor (28 mins)
  • Grieg- Piano Concerto in A minor (30 mins)
  • Nielsen - Symphony No. 4, 'Inextinguishable' (35 mins)