All 2018 Prom Reviews

Prom 6: BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo – Gershwin’s An American in Paris & Messiaen’s Turangalîla
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 |  The big barn was almost but not quite full for this unlikely pairing held together, however loosely, by two of this year’s Proms themes: the musical legacy of French Impressionism and the role of Leonard Bernstein... ... The American maestro, who could sound a little condescending when describing the structural limitations of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, conducted An American in Paris with suitably idiomatic fervour into his mid-career. It was Messiaen’s Turangalîla he dropped... ... Yvonne Loriod’s tumultuous piano part was taken here by Angela Hewitt, equipped with a tablet in lieu of sheet music and coping with the mainly swift, distinctly twenty-first-century tempos favoured by Sakari Oramo. Cynthia Millar was the other named soloist... 
Prom 5: Glyndebourne Festival Opera – Stefan Herheim’s production of Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande – John Chest, Christina Gansch, Christopher Purves; London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 |  Glyndebourne’s annual showcase at the Proms this year derived from its new staging of Debussy’s ever-intriguing Pelléas et Mélisande, a controversial production. Played without some of the distractions and accretions of Stefan Herheim’s concept this performance smouldered with ever-increasing intensity... ... The London Philharmonic Orchestra had the generous space of the Royal Albert Hall to fill and under Robin Ticciati’s assured leadership the subtlety of Debussy’s orchestration unfolded with amazing clarity... ... At the centre was Christopher Purves’s superb Golaud. He charted the prince’s mental deterioration with uncompromising directness... 
Prom 4: BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena – Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony – Mark Simpson plays Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto
Monday, July 16, 2018 |  Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto, written for Kari Kriikku in 2002 (he gave its Proms premiere five years later, under Semyon Bychkov), is one of those masterworks that transcends place and period. ... Mark Simpson's death-defying performance went for the jugular and the stratospheric. ... Shostakovich's 'Leningrad' Symphony opened with a sense of hard rhythms and shaped solos. But, careful as Mena was to steer a straight, serious course, it didn't quite gel. 
Proms at ... Cadogan Hall 1/Proms Chamber Music – Calidore String Quartet & Javier Perianes – Caroline Shaw’s Essays & Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet
Monday, July 16, 2018 |  Schumann's Piano Quintet should have been the highlight of this lunchtime Prom, the first of eight this season marking one-hundred years since women in the UK were given the right to vote. In the event it was Caroline Shaw's three Essays (2016-18, around twenty minutes in all) – which caught the imagination. ... The Calidore String Quartet – engaged currently in BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists scheme and winners of the Emerging Artist Award at Lincoln Center – is as good as one can get. ... Favouring a closely integrated first/second violin, cello, viola seating, their Schumann Piano Quintet with Javier Perianes was less gripping... 
Prom 3: BBC Young Musician 40th Anniversary
Sunday, July 15, 2018 |  How do you celebrate an institution’s fortieth-birthday, which has elicited not only twenty-one winners but also a hinterland of talented others? That’s the problem faced by the Proms to mark the BBC’s second-most recognised classical music event: the BBC Young Musician competition. 
Prom 2: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Alain Altinoglu – Fauré's Pavane & Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé – Francesco Piemontesi plays Mozart K595
Saturday, July 14, 2018 |  No doubt Charles Dutoit was originally in the driving seat for this Prom, but step forward Alain Altinoglu who led the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a vividly theatrical performance of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe... ... Earlier, Francesco Piemontesi had played Mozart’s final Piano Concerto, its intimacy dwarfed by the size of the Royal Albert Hall, Radio 3 listeners probably getting a better deal... 
First Night of the Proms 2018 – Sakari Oramo conducts BBCSO in Oliver Knussen's Flourish with Fireworks, VW's Toward the Unknown Region, Holst's The Planets, and Anna Meredith's Five Telegrams
Friday, July 13, 2018 |  Braving a thunderstorm and sundry demonstrations, a near-capacity crowd assembled for 2018’s First Night of the BBC Proms, timed to begin at the implausible hour of 8.15. Was that to accommodate the Wimbledon tennis? ... This is not to say that Anna Meredith writes tunes. ... A different kind of memorial first. We might regret that Oliver Knussen, who should have been England’s Stravinsky, turned out to be its Liadov... ... Sakari Oramo projected its whirring activity with authority... ... The Holst was comparably lean and fit, even if slightly compromised by desultory clapping between Planets. ... Five Telegrams draws on communications sent by young soldiers in 1918 but displays little empathy for their plight.  
Alan Davey's Proms Blog
Wednesday, July 04, 2018 |  David Pickard, the Proms team and I are very proud of the broad and exciting range of concerts we have packed into eight weeks of music-making at the 2018 BBC Proms. ... ...as relevant today as it was in Henry Wood’s time. The Relaxed Prom will be accompanied by an audio description available through headsets for the blind and partially sighted live audience and across BBC Radio 3’s broadcast coverage. 

 

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