The last in our series of reviews by first time Proms attenders: Sophie Ogden, a student and keen pianist and flutist, reviewed Prom 75 for us:
Last Friday (the 7th of September) was mine and my partner’s first trip to the Royal Albert Hall to see the BBC Proms. To be more specific it was Prom 75: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performing Haydn’s symphony number 107 and Strauss’s Alpine symphony.
Entering the Hall was an experience in itself. It was illuminated with coloured lights and decorative banners which told us we certainly had arrived at the Proms.
The tension of pre-performance wasn’t a long one as we sat down and discussed the beauty of our surroundings the lights dimmed and the orchestra appeared from the side of the stage.
They were welcomed of course with a warm round of applause and then were seated ready to tune up and begin. The conductor Bernard Haitink entered with grace and poise well prepared to start Haydn’s last ever symphony entitled ‘London’ – quite fitting for the location! The air began to fill with a slow simple melody which slowly made its way around the circular hall.
The tension of the piece slowly built with crescendos and healthy harmonies slowly arising. This was 30 minutes of mellow music with a string dominated orchestra characteristic of the classical period, which I think is just charming. At the end, the orchestra were again welcomed by a colossal round of applause, which was well deserved.
For the second half, the setting of the stage had changed to accommodate the full orchestra needed for a Strauss Symphony.
The same round of applause was used to greet them once more and we began. The mood had definitely changed as we had moved on through music history into the late romantic period. The full orchestra took us out of our seats and astounded us. The addition of the wind and percussion section just added a fuller sound in which everyone could appreciate. These 50 minutes of Strauss told a story and the ups and downs kept me seduced the whole way through.
When the whole event was finished, the orchestra was met by astronomical applause and admiration for their superb playing. In fact this caused the conductor to go on and off stage several times and then to my surprise an encore was played!
Such a fantastic night and it reminded me that the sophistication and regal atmosphere is why the Royal Albert Hall remains one of the top music venues. It certainly put the ‘Royal’ into the Albert hall.