I was at the Royal Albert Hall this evening seeing Prom 56: Staatskapelle Dresden. The highlight – and the reason it sold out rather early on – was that Lang Lang – Chinese prodigy and one of the greatest pianists of his generation – was performing Chopin’s piano concerto no.2 in F minor.
The evening opened with the debut of a new piece of music by Rebecca Saunders, called Traces I think. Rather odd. I am actually something of a philistine and not a big classical music buff (unlike Sheridan who I went with – who is). But the piece was too niche for my liking. It would make great backing music for a horror movie. I was thinking of Alien all through the 15 minute piece. It also made me think of HR Giger (the artist who created the Alien artwork) – the music just really went with that kind of imagery in my mind. The response from the audience was muted.
When Lang Lang came on you could feel the excitement in the audience. He’s a star – rather flamboyant and quite quirky. The music was sublime – really lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a huge extended ovation at the end and you could tell the 4,000 in the concert hall had enjoyed it. He also did a short encore.
The following piece was An Alpine Symphony by Strauss. A long, moving piece. The orchestra was huge. I couldn’t count quite how many people were in it (and my inherent philistinia (sic) prevents me from knowing how many people make up a standard concert orchestra) but it looked like about 70 instruments. Very impressive.
We were in the upper circle and the seats were quite comfortable. In the olden days Sheridan’s employer maintained a box and we would go frequently each season (for peanuts). This is the only prom I’m going to this year, though Sheridan is going to a few others. He is sensible enough to only invite me to ones that have mainstream appeal. Whilst I can do ClassicFM, I don’t do Radio 3, if you get my drift.