Proms 2013: Best of the rest No 1
Vilde Frang violin and Michail Lifits piano gave poised accounts of sonatas by Ravel and Mozart (in G Major, K379) but really caught my ear with their Lutoslawski Partita - apparently prompted into taking up by her mentor Anne Sophie Mutter - Frang brings a similar steely resolve to this type of music. Very rewarding. Kudos to for Proms organisers, artists and BBC - ALL of the Chamber Music Proms will be recorded in video as well as audio and available online - fantastic venture!
Link to PCM1 - Concert here
Prom 9 - I was left rather cold by Thomas Søndergård conducting Stennhammar but I'd wager that's as much the composer's fault as anyone's but was thrilled and enthralled by the colours and and drama in his account of Szymanowski's Third Symphony No 3 with Michael Weinius, BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC National Orchestra of Wales - very special. So much effort went into the symphony that I fear it may have had the orchestra running out of steam in Strauss' Alpensinfonie. This is becoming a Proms regular - none of it's last three outings have really hit the spot for me - despite the Weiner Philharmoniker having a go with Haitink last year. Søndergård pushed too hard I think.
Prom 10: A suave Haffner Symphony from Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia, Rome under Sir Antonio Pappano took me back to the conductor's admiration for Karajan - it was good to hear big hearted Mozart played with effortless charm. Schumann's Piano Concerto was applauded to the rafters - pianist Jan Lisiecki was rightly to be congratulated on his effortless artistry and delicate touch. My feeling was that something was lost between the soloist and orchestra - it didn't really find the one reflecting the other. It all seemed a long way from Grimaud and Salonen who make the finale fly in both Department's on shared wings. But a fine debut nonetheless from the 18 year old. I don't do Rachmaninov symphonies so you'll have to look elsewhere for views.
Prom 11 was late night Stockhausen. It was fantastic and maybe even better at home over headphones than in the flesh in terms of stereo separation. I enjoyed the first piece, Gesang der Jünglinge, early mix of voice and electronic interjections. It has a naive quality not only because of the use of young voices. The other piece was a bleeding chunk like no other - Welt-Parlament from his Mittwoch aus 'Licht'. Its an odd treatment of voices in many languages. It’s a fascinating headlong dive into the head of a quite unique composer. I loved it once the struggle to comprehend had been overcome. Hear it if you can - Stockhausen is a rarity.