A night at the Proms

The Proms are an eight-week season of daily classical music concerts held every summer, mainly at the Royal Albert Hall. The season culminates in The Last Night of the Proms held on the second Saturday in September. Tickets are highly sought after and you can only get tickets to the last night if you’ve bought tickets for five other concerts in the season. The aim of the Proms is to present the widest possible range of music to large audiences at a reasonable cost. As well as seats, standing (or ‘promming’) tickets go on sale 2 hours before each concert and cost only £5.

2011

The last time I went was in 2005 – I took my mum and grandmother to see Ravi Shankar, and the year before that I saw Yo-Yo Ma with the Silk Road Ensemble.

This evening the BBC Philharmonic’s newest conductor, Juanjo Mena, took us through images of musical Spain – I didn’t notice the Spanish theme when I booked it as the composers listed were Debussy and Ravel (both French) and Falla (who I’d never heard of, but it turns out he’s Andalusian) but not the actual music that was going to be played. I booked the tickets quite late and the only area where there were two seats together was the stalls to the left of the stage. When we sat in our seats, I was pleasantly surprised to find that each individual seat swivels so that you can see the stage without straining your neck for two hours. Whoever thought of that is a genius!

I have to admit that I didn’t know any of the music played this evening. Not one piece. The programme consisted of:

  • Debussy – Images – Gigues
  • Ravel – Rapsodie espagnole
  • Debussy – Rondes de printemps
  • Ravel – Alborado del gracioso
  • Falla – Nights in the Garden of Spain
  • Debussy – Images – Ibéria 

And, honestly, if I were to hear any of these pieces of music again, I may not even recall ever having heard them.

For me, the star of the show was the conductor. He was so entertaining to watch – animated, graceful – waving his arms around like he was a fairy godmother with a wand! During some parts he was practically dancing on his podium and at other times he moved so slowly he seemed to be wading through water. I don’t know why but I kept thinking of the old Tom and Jerry cartoon ‘The Cat and the Mermouse‘ when Tom falls into the sea! If you watch this video for 1 minute from the 2-minute mark, you’ll have some idea of what I mean…

The Proms are definitely worth going to – there’s a huge variety of performers, music and it’s good value for money – there’s something for everyone!

2011

And now, back to Angry Birds!

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