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London Music Guide

London Classical Guide

Proms 13

Sunday 27th July, 7.30pm
Venue: The Royal Albert Hall

Haydn - Symphony No. 44 in E minor
Bartók - Piano Concerto No. 3
Copland - Quiet City
John Adams - On the Transmigration of Souls

With the exception of Haydn's Symphony No. 44, the programme took a decidedly contemporary feel on Sunday evening. John Adams conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra through Bartok's "Piano Concerto No. 3", Copland's "Quiet City" and the European premiere of his latest work "On the Transmigration of Souls" which topped the bill.

Helene Grimaud engaged the audience with an impassioned interpretation of Bartok's Piano Concerto No. 3. The soloist, who has been recording since the age of fifteen, performed the composer's last work penned before his death in 1945. Copland's "Quiet City" was contrasting in style, and sparse in atmosphere with William Houghton on trumpet solo.

John Adams's "On the Transmigration of Souls" left the evening resting on a poignant note. The work inspired by the events of September 11th, combined recorded material with orchestra and chorus to create a haunting soundscape described by Adams as a "memory space". Taped readings listing missing loved ones, sounded out over samples of city life blurring into the resonance of the orchestration. Much of Adam's previous work has fuelled protest because of it's political content. In this instance, the composer's attention sidestepped the controversy surrounding the events of September 11th and focused on the sense of loss felt in the aftermath.

Helenka Bednar

For information on the 2003 BBC Proms, click here.


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