Wed 10th September – More Proms

17 09 2008

I made it to another session of the proms – last week of it. Shame, its a great thing to go along to.

This session had an astro theme, and clearly someone like me with my love of orrery’s was going to be into that.  Seriously, I wanted to get along to see this one in particular because a piece by Xenakis was being performed and I was interested to hear it done live. Also, Holst’s Planets Suite was the last part of the program and thats a pretty surefire piece – its also Brian May’s favorite, so perhaps a little part of me was also there hoping he might turn up and I’d get a glimpse…sad. (even sadder that there was no sighting…)

The first piece was ok, a contemporary British artist, was not bad, not amazing.

The Xenakis piece was performed by 6 percussionists sitting in the arena area and banging stuff – there were mics scattered around them and an array of speakers around the perimeter of the hall at roof level where the signal from the mics was processed and sent in varying ways during the performance.  Also, owing to the performers position under the dome – some natural acoustic anomolies added to the (intended) sensation that the hall itself and its excitement by the percussionists is a major part of the performance.  Unfortunately the point of this piece was lost on the majority of the audience, so there was a lot of restlessness and talking – and in fact one jerk stood up in a lull in the playing and bellowed “BOOOO!!!!!” repeatedly before being ushered out by a very embarrassed looking wife or partner- Im sure thats got to be a first for the Proms!  Admittedly the piece probably did need to have an intro to the crowd to help set up the idea, or at least be coupled with more similar experimental pieces and not a safe British favorite like ‘The Planets’

Anyway – aside from that one Jerk, it was another lovely night at the proms – I even got to hear that massive pipe organ come to life a few times – very cool.

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