Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Fantastic! We had this piece, followed by Tasmin Little playing this piece, followed by this. For those reading this in early August 2006, you should be able to either hear a repeat or listen again. Highly advised!

For us, this was our first visit to the Royal Albert Hall for anything, never mind a Prom. For Neil, it was his first visit to a classical concert, something I hadn't realised at all (unless there is something we've forgotten, though he did see the Welsh National Opera doing Electra some years ago at Birmingham Hippodrome, courtesy of me being Arts Reviewer for the Student Union paper at Wolves Poly).

Anyway, it was very exciting and even though we were way up high, we had a terrific view and the sound was great. We only had ONE person's mobile go off (after the interval), but I hope they felt suitably horrified. It was a great night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to say that once I had Time Out magazine in my hand, my first thought was 'what Proms are on whilst we are here? And is there anything Russian?' (since I know Neil is very fond of Russian composors). And lo, the Prom for Monday was All-Russian!

Really, they must have known we were coming!


Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, for a Shostakovich fan, I'm not familiar with his 8th. The 7th, of course, is the famous one with its massive ostinato 'describing' the advancing German army about which Stalin is supposed to have grumped that Shostakovich had only written one good tune and then gave it to the Germans!

Perhaps I'm preaching to the converted but the string quartets have the very essence of the man because they show his development from the '30s to the '50s. Also, you can sample his 'impression' of the German planes and the AA fire over Stalingrad in the 8th quartet.

Any newcomer to his music should start with his ever-popular 5th symphony, the 2nd movement of which describes a Russian piss-up, and the 3rd is the nearest thing to an evocation of tender but intense love-making that I have ever heard in music. For chaps seeking real 'get 'em off' music to seduce by, try the 2nd piano concerto, particularly the 2nd movement but kick the machine off before the 3rd movement starts or you'll break the sofa springs!

God, I'm sounding like Marjorie Proops!

Rob said...

Hadn't thought of the third movt of the fifth syphony in terms of love-making before (there's the Richard Strauss Sinfonia Domestica 3rd movt if you want an orchestral bonkathon) but why not? I agree about the quartets but personally found the piano quintet the best place to start with his chamber music.

Amazed that Neil had never been to a classical concert before! Glad it was such a success. Tasmin Little is great. She played with ESO back when we could still afford her (just), though as it happened I wasn't playing in that concert. I got to see the final rehearsal though (Tchaikovsky concerto).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rob, I heard a snatch of the piano quintet some time ago, just enough to say to myself I must get that, and, hey-ho ...
Never mind, you've given me the nudge I needed.

As to the "orchestral bonkathon" in the 3rd movement, remember that like beauty being in the eye of the beholder, sex is in the mind of the listener! Poor old Dimitri was probably thinking of something entirely different, like, "Christ, was that a knock at *my* door?"