Monday, 22 July 2013

Our Debut to the Proms

My dream (and my Dad's) is to see the Proms live at The Royal Albert Hall and it finally came true when Dad booked us tickets on the day they went on sale!

The day in July arrived for our first Prom.  We got the late morning train down to Kings Cross.  After arriving and having some lunch at the station, we made our way via a hot bus to Royal Albert Hall.  The journey took us longer than anticipated because of the traffic resulting in some part of the city being cordoned off by the Police for some reason.  Don't think it was anything too serious.

On our arrival at The Royal Albert Hall, we had some some time on hours so we visited the Science Museum for an hour or so.  I'm not a science geek but I do respect it for how it developed the world in the past, present and future.  I studied a fair bit of science in a couple of modules as part of my Humanities Degree.  We chose what exhibitions which were of interest of us and we temporarily went our separate ways.

I particularly enjoyed the exhibition on James Watt, an engineer of steam and a big player during the Industrial Revolution.  The exhibition reminded me some of some similar exhibits I saw at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery earlier on in the year.  He and Matthew Boulton developed the infamous steam engine which became an instant success in the industrial world in the 18th Century.  Watt was also part of the Birmingham Lunar Society who believed in reasoning and experimenting which were qualities of The Enlightenment.  I also visited another exhibition about The Enlightenment and how influential science was then.  In all it was an enjoyable visit to the Science Museum.

It was time for us to take our seats at the Royal Albert Hall for the evening's Prom.  The seats were comfortable enough but it was very hot up in the circle.  I did and do yearn for the building to be least to have air cooling.  Prom No. 10 was delivered by the Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia and directed by Sir Antonio Pappano.

Mozart Symphony No. 35 in D major, K385 'Haffner'

Firstly we listened to Mozart's 'Haffner' Symphony.  The symphony was composed in 1783 and in honour of Sigmund Haffner's enoblement.  Haffner was a family friend and the Symphony was requested by Mozart's father.  Some facts I would like to share is that Mozart composed his first concerto at four years old; first symphony at seven years old; and first full scale opera at 12 years old.  Since his death in 1791, he left over 600 works of music in which has been shared far and wide in the past and present.  Thanks to my friend, Emma McKeating, who shared those.

Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor

Next we had the Piano Concerto starring the Canadian Pianoist Jan Lisiecki.  Schumann composed this popular concerto in honour of his wife, Clara.  I enjoyed this expressive work and led by exceptional and very talented Piaonist.  For the encore, Lisiecki played Chopin Nocturne in C sharp minor.  It was beautiful and he has his recent album dedicated to Chopin music.

Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 in E minor

This 20th Century piece of music was likely to have been composed during his stay in Dresden between 1906-07.  I'm used to listening to Rachmaninov's Piano Concertos so it was a nice change to listen to one of his Symphonies.  I was transfixed with the music from beginning to end and it was well received by the audience. 

The orchestra's final encore was an Italian affair of Ponchielli's La Danza Delle Ore (Finale).

Being Inspired....

It was a great Prom and an amazing evening!  The atmosphere in the Royal Albert Hall was amazing for my first ever Prom! I'm inspired to see more Proms now and in the future.  I'm keener to get into classical music and learn more about the composers and also the talented artists and creative crews who keep their spirit alive. I can see myself seeing more concerts than shows at the theatre in the not too distant future.

On a high we got our late train home back to Leeds and since then my Dad and I have been reliving the memories.  For further information about the BBC Proms please visit their website.

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