Prom 19: Friday 29th July at 7.00 p.m. (Honneger, Bridge, Berg, Castiglioni, Debussy)
Presented by Petroc Trelawny
A typically thought-provoking programme from the BBC Symphony Orchestra's Artist in Association, Oliver Knussen, showcasing pieces rarely heard in the concert hall alongside 20th-century classics.
All the composers are masters of orchestral colour, and each creates a unique and concentrated soundworld. Arthur Honegger's depictions of a steam locomotive and pastoral idyll are followed by Frank Bridge's quietly anguished Shakespearean scene of death by drowning (from Hamlet) and the splintered, wintry fluidity of Italian composer Niccolò Castiglioni.
Soprano Claire Booth (who made her professional debut in the music of Knussen) sings Berg's heady paean to the restorative powers of fermented grape juice. And the concert closes with Debussy's astonishing, inspirational evocation of shifting seas.
Honegger: Pacific 231
Honegger: Pastorale d'été
Bridge: There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook
Berg: Der Wein
Castiglioni: Inverno in-ver
Debussy: La Mer
Claire Booth (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Oliver Knussen (conductor)
This could be a good one imho. I really like Honegger and pastorale d'ete is a gem I think.
It deserves to be well attended, but... we'll soon know.
I know too much of this fare to have wanted to attend - apart from the Castiglioni. Is this a new work of his?
I'm sitting this one out and enjoying it on iPlayer. The Castiglioni was written in the 1970s according to the programme notes. As a novelty, I'm sure some people might have liked it, but it seemed more appropriate for classically-minded dogs rather than humans.
Considering this was advertised as a 'typically well-thought-out' programme by Oliver Knussen, should we believe what he just said on the radio that the connecting theme between these works is that they are all "moist"?
Castiglioni's Inverni in-ver is from 1973, and this is music which I would take with me on my holiday to the Alps coming January as it is a sparkling, sometimes quite chilling, but overall a lovely and humorous piece of music. Great music IMO even. (Btw, Brixen -where Castiglioni wrote this piece, is just a couple of miles from the place Mahler composed in Toblach/Tobiaccio, in South Tyrol)
Haven't listened to the other pieces, but I think tonight's programme was well balanced as well as adventurous, juxtapositioning Honegger, Bridge and Berg as well as Castiglioni and Debussy.
In terms of programming certainly one of the toppers so far IMO.
Yes Roehre, I second that - lovely piece, the Castiglioni, making great use of the Albert Hall's reverberant spaces. The multi-movement format is uncommon but it's there; Poulenc made some very unusual suites out of it, and given the dance element of Inverno one could even trace it all back to the baroque overture-suites of Telemann and Bach.
The two parts of the concert seemed contrasted in fascinating ways... darker & earthier texrures and rhythms before the interval, glittering, airier land- and sea-scapes after it.
I'm sorry to say that this Prom was rather poorly attended with large gaps in the stalls and plenty of room in the Promenade. It was a fascinating evening culminating in a first class performance of La Mer. The Castiglioni was attractive, and those of us who had been to the pre-Prom talk were treated to some useful musical examples from orchestra members. It was interesting to learn that some of the melodic material in the strings would have been recognisable as folk like if played at normal pitch instead of in high harmonics, and this was demonstrated for us.
Both the Honegger items went well, although I thought that Pacific 231 was a little short of power. It's very noticeable that the reverberation in the RAH was more prominent with fewer bodies to absorb the sound, and perhaps this affected the performance a little.
just listening to the Castiglioni repeat. sounds as if it is quoting from other things, I'm sure I just heard the fugue theme from Britten's Young Person's Guide.
whether there are actual quotes I am not sure, but IMO there certainly are (intended?) allusions to Britten (YPGO), JSBach (a trio sonata, but which one?), Vivaldi (one of the concertos opus 10?) and Respighi (Birds).
Originally Posted by mercia
I also think there is an allusion/quote from Webern's Pieces for orchestra M.183-187 from 1913 (discarded pieces originally planned for opus 10), which makes sense as these were just published around the time Castiglioni composed these wintery scenes of his (1973, though 5 of them had been premiered by Ormandy already in 1965 IIRC)