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  BCMG at the BBC Proms  red5 at 19:46 on 30 August 2007

Even in terms of BBC Late Night Proms London's Royal Albert Hall was somewhat empty last night when the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group came to town. Given the quality of the programme this was a real shame.

The much hyped and award winning 'Book of Hours' by Julian Anderson made up the bulk of the concert. The BCMG, conducted by Oliver Knussen and accompanied by an octophonic electronics rig, were in fine form as they seemingly breezed through Anderson's score (which is unsurprising considering their NMC recording of the work has been nominated for a Gramophone award). The well balanced ensemble and electronics made for a kaleidoscope of sound that, at its climax, from the front of the promming area, left one feeling as though you were in the path of an oncoming lorry!

Webern's 'Five Pieces for Orchestra', which were performed twice, were played with incredible delicacy and precision. Knussen's admiration for the work (highlighted by his holding the score above his head at the end) was clear in the way he directed his players and this was gretly appreciated by the punters.

The programme was completed by two of Knussen's own works, his 'Ophelia Dances' and 'Requiem - Songs for Sue'. The latter was the most succesful. A heavily pregnant Claire Booth sang the songs (in English, Spanish and German) with real conviction and managed to hold her own against a lively ensemble.

A very enjoyable evening, just a shame more didn't come out to hear the good news!

  Re: BCMG at the BBC Proms  scott_good at 02:40 on 31 August 2007

This must have been an amazing concert. I had the great opportunity to play under Knussen a few years ago - Ravel and Takamitsu. His care for the music was, well, at times very intimidating (he almost refused to let us perform the Takemitsu because we were not accurate enough with dynamics and note lengths, but, the threat worked, and we gave it a good go). But boy, did he know these scores well. At any rate, I'm sure that Webern under his direction must have been divine.

  Re: BCMG at the BBC Proms  red5 at 15:45 on 31 August 2007

You may be able to listen to it online at the BBC radio 3 website. They have most proms online for a week afterwards. Obviously it won't be as good as being there but it will give a pretty good impression.

It's a shame because most of the audience were composers (Thomas Ades, Ken Hesketh, George Benjamin, Colin Matthews, Arlene Sierra, Richard Causton....) not Joe Public!

  Re: BCMG at the BBC Proms  ricnog at 23:05 on 05 September 2007

Hello all,

I really enjoyed listening to this concert but I didn't have the opportunity to record it. Has anyone here done so? please contact me if you have.

Thank you in advance