Last night was great, – was at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, London for an evening concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Semyon Bychkov). It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and although the first item in the programme (the UK première of Detlev Glanert’s “Shoreless River”) may not have been to everyone’s taste, personally I found it pretty interesting. It’s apparently a taste of the kind of music to expect from his next opera.

Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was brilliantly performed by Denis Matsuev, although I think pretty much the whole audience was a little surprised that he didn’t have an encore (possibly the length of the concert ruled that out anyway).

The second half performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905” was really the main event of the evening and sitting where we were -directly behind the first violins- mean that even if the sound wasn’t entirely balanced, we did feel very involved with the music. During the finale, the score calls for bells to be rung, and usually that means tubular bells, however last night the BBC Symphony Orchestra used actual, full-size bells, which looked as if they’d previously been in some church tower! They sounded very impressive, even if at the end it required the efforts of three percussionists in order to dampen them!

Pretty much the only downside to the day was the ferry home. We’d already discovered that there was no midnight sailing, so took our time getting down the A3 for the 1am boat. Upon arrival it turned out that the 1am was actually going to be the 1.45am, due to unspecified ‘operational reasons’. I think it was pretty much 3am by the time we made it to Brighstone.

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