Challenged.

Music Prom 8 brings along with Arvo Part's sublime Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britain (a blast of wind accompanied by the clang of a bell), Sergei Rakhmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and luckily it's the theme to The South Bank Show.

As I continue on what reality tv shows annoying persist in calling a 'journey' it's inevitable and welcome that every now and then there'll something I recognise and from something other than reading the title and the composer in the Proms guide and that's because I've spent half my life in front of the television and in cinemas and more often than not it'll be due it's usage in a commercial, romantic comedy or action film.

I first heard 'Ode To Joy' when the vault was opened in Die Hard and the 18th variation in the Rhapsody turned up during Groundhog Day just as Bill Murray is trying to impress (and seduce) Andie McDowell. But part of this musical education is discovering who composed this music and being able to hear it within context.

But the major work of the night, Glière's Symphony No.3 'Ilya Murometz', an eighty minute musical narrative about a Russian folk hero, also had a familiar ring to it, but not because I'd heard it directly before. Perhaps sections have influenced film composers -- I'm sure I heard fragments of everyone from John Williams to Jerry Goldsmith to Howard Shore in the mix -- although it might just be a temp track favourite (which is often echoed in a film's final themes). The piece certainly managed to conjure some of the images described in the plot synopsis in by Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny beforehand. Particularly the beheading.

My post about Prom 6 attracted a few comments by the way:Anothony Thornton wrote:
"I was lucky enough to be in the Albert Hall at the time. I confess - like others, I suspect - that I went to hear Spem In Allium. The debut of 'Ecco si beato giorno' completely blew me away. It's one of the most moving pieces of music I've ever heard. Anyway, I saw that you were sorry you hadn't recorded it - I didn't even realise it was being televised. If you want to hear it again though the BBC have it for the next few days here. And it can be reached from here.
Thanks Anthony. As I mentioned in the comments by way of a reply, my dvd recorder has Freeview built in which means I'm able to record whole programmes on to dvd which is how I was able to listen to last night's Prom this lunchtime -- the sound quality is ok, I think, and as you saw I could still hear every cough in the hall.

Ian Jones said:
"My mum and dad were at this Prom, and they told me the wall of sound generated by so many distinct voices was sensational. One Prom you really shouldn't miss is on Saturday 4th August, when Shostakovich's 7th Symphony is being performed. It's one of the most overwhelming and emotional pieces of music you'll ever hear, depicting the German invasion of the USSR during World War Two. I'm going to try and go along in person, but I know it's scheduled to be shown on BBC2."
It certainly is and I can't wait. I seem to remember BBC's 2 & 4 having far more broadcasts last year, but I suppose they have to balance the needs of the classical music fans with everyone else. Annoyingly though, they're not showing Prom 15 next Tuesday which is a presentation of Verdi's Macbeth even though its being semi-staged in the hall. Since I've even less of a clue about opera than anything else it's going to be a bit of challenge.

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