Music and Vision homepage Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.

 

Ensemble

An imposing start

DAVID THOMPSON was at the
First Night of the BBC Proms
in London on 18 July 2003

 

So the world's greatest music festival is underway once again. One of the ongoing themes this year is music inspired by the Greek Myths. No evidence of that on the opening night, though a packed Royal Albert Hall on a hot day had many of us wondering if the air conditioning, alleged to have been introduced last year, was just another of those myths!

The Bill of Fare? A rich Russian salad. To start, Shostakovich's Festive Overture, a harmless few yards of bespoke Soviet jollity, written on demand to remind the fifties proletariat just what fun it was to live in Mother Russia. It came and went with suitably optimistic fizz and Panache, and, from me, a silent prayer of thanks at the welcome absence of the choral banality that usually attends such pieces d'occasion. After all, we were force-fed the dreadful Second Symphony last year. Maestro Slatkin and his BBC Symphony Orchestra fell to their work with a will.

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Copyright © 29 July 2003 David Thompson, Eastwood, Essex, UK

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