I had no intention of reviewing Prom 75, the penultimate night before the BBC Proms ended but how could I stop myself? It was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9: the Choral, which as much as it has been over played at international halls since the 1824, hasn’t become stale… ever. To put it bluntly, it’s just a bloody good symphony. Last year, I saw the Philharmonic orchestra perform with the London Symphony Chorus (who also performed this evening) at the Barbican Centre as part of the Raymond Gubbay tradition, and I still recall fond memories.
All attempts to buy return tickets were out-of-bounds and stall seats were still unaffordable. Alas, at such short notice, I ran to the Royal Albert Hall and stood in the proms arena queue just after 2 o’ clock. When it came to 7 o’ clock, revellers were dusting themselves off from the September sun filing up the spaces of the 6000-seater auditorium. Prommers were slowly edging into the stage and there sat above the orchestral stage were the multiple choir members (or as I’d like to call them, ‘the angelic voices’) of the Leipzig Opera Chorus, Leipzig Gewandhaus Choir, Leipzig Gewandhaus Childrens Choir and London Symphony Chorus – phew, that’s quite a mouthful.
|View as a ‘prommer’|
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra graciously entered the stage shortly followed by the half Japanese, half American conductor Alan Gilbert. Gilbert, originally a violinist, is currently the musical director of the New York Philharmonic who stepped in last moment as Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly, who has conducted the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra numerous times, had to ‘withdraw’ due to medical reasons.