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July 20, 2015updated 11 Jan 2016 1:45pm

BBC Proms Review: Prom 4, Beethoven 9, CBSO

By Spear's

The 2015 BBC Proms season is upon us: a quintessentially British festival with a unique atmosphere. The programming is varied, aiming to attract as diverse a concert going crowd as possible, with focus on classical music for beginners and families.

There are always wonderful traditions, like the charity announcement in the interval by the Promenaders and the genteel queuing behind the Royal Albert Hall down the steps to Prince Consort Road.

Sunday night’s Prom, the fourth, was a rousing spectacle and, as usual, the smart programming ensured we had our fix of contemporary music before the main event.

John Woolrich’s ‘Falling Down’ composed for double bassoon and orchestra was written especially for Margaret Cookhorn, the CBSO principal double bassoonist. What a piece, a highly spirited rhythmical onslaught of the senses, and what an instrument, reminiscent of the sounds of the mothership from Close Encounters.

With Andris Nelsons conducting this Prom, one could be guaranteed a lively evening. This was his very last concert with the CBSO so it was a fitting farewell. Nelson’s energy and novel expression are very entertaining, yet he can be grand and regal when required, particularly in the hugely sonorous Ninth Symphony. He accentuated dramatic pauses in the music, producing a majestic moments of silence which seemed to fill the Albert Hall.

The choir and soloists were in fine voice, particularly soprano Lucy Crowe, whose beautiful timbre simply thrilled me. What a luxurious tone she has.

I simply love the Proms.


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