Saturday, July 30, 2011

BBC Proms #20

Before I launch into tonight's Proms review, a few queries from my Texas pals as to "How did the BBC Proms get their name?"

Well, the Proms began in 1895 when the founder-conductor Henry Wood decided to hold a series of concerts each year at a host of venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, to introduce the best of classical music to the widest possile audience in the UK. These concerts were named "The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts" and were presented by the BBC; the name was shortened through the years to BBC Proms.

Additionally, "prom" is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London's pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing. Promming now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall (the arena and gallery) for which ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating). Yep...that is where we are for each concert.

That said, tonight's concert was FAB!!!!! Program as follows:

* Don Juan, Op. 20 - Richard Strauss
* Violin Concerto - William Walton
* Alexander Nevsky - Cantata, Op. 78 - Sergey Prokofiev
* Salome, Op. 54 - Dance of the Seven Veils - Richard Strauss

Not only was the program well performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, but the highlight of the program was the guest violinist, Midori! Such tenderness in her playing. A solid program all way 'round.

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