High Anxiety

Music Just finished catching up on last night's Prom 7, Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings then Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major presented by the combined might of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France. It's the first time I've really noticed the audience who you could really hear coughing through the whole of the former -- although it might have been something to do with the way the sound was being handled by the BBC engineers because it all but disappeared during the latter.

What I hadn't heard before is applause between movements. From a young age I learned that this was a no-no as it tended to break the mood particularly during the less celebratory pieces and sometimes even effected the concentration of the players. Here it was inconsistent -- a bit loud after the first movement of the Serenade then quite on each successive pause as more people got the message. It disappeared after the first bit of Bruckner before a ripple returning again. But each time you could tell that the group had begun clapping then stopped when they realised that no one else was. I remember being at a concert at the Liverpool Phil once when this happened, and the conductor turned and glared at the crowd. They didn't do it again.

Ironically, the conductor for this concert, Kurt Masur, celebrating his eightieth birthday, had commented during the interval (on tape) that the Proms audience was the best in the world, because of the intelligence of the silences and how there was always a sense of anticipation throughout. All of which said, the crowd did go mental at the end of the performance, and to such an extent that were treated to an encore (unplanned obviously), a big old blast of Wagner which complemented perfectly the Bruckner work with its strident, bombast energy.

On the Promundrum front, I was concerned that we might never find out what it was on about after the BBC phone-in scandal thing but the competition entry is via a web form so it should be safe for now. No matter how shocking that was, I can't help but continue loving the BBC because they've been so open about the mistakes, as far as we can tell investigate the thing properly and have taken the necessary steps to make sure that hopefully doesn't happen again. Now back to the Promundrum. Is it 'Anxiety'?

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