Sunday, 9 August 2009

Notes on the Proms - Part II

Having written two fairly negative blogs and sounded like a completely miserable old git, I felt it was time to post something with a more positive twist!

Yesterday's Prom featured the National Youth Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto Number 1 and I have to say it was superb. I first saw this piece performed about four years ago by the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and fell in love with it instantly. It is a joyous and whole-heartedly romantic piece of music. The interplay between the piano and the orchestra is exquisite. This is a piece universally loved by performers and audiences alike and rightly so.

To put such a well known piece in the hands of children is a brave thing indeed and I have to say, the NYO carried the burden with ease. I have never seen such a talented group of young musicians. The soloist was necessarily a practiced pianist of a fair few more years than the rest of the orchestra, but said orchestra played in harmonic unison with piano like pros. The many challenging solo parts for individual instruments other than piano in this piece were handled perfectly. The orchestra, being one of the largest in the world, was made for this piece which requires force and presence of which these young performers had an abundance.

They finished the evening with a performance of Respighi's Roman Festivals, an equally exuberant and entertaining piece which the youthfulness of the orchestra was perfectly suited to. Over all a fantastic Prom and definitely one that everyone should hear. It's up on iplayer for the next week and I heartily recommended to anyone interested in classical music, or just music in general.

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