1 October 2021

Five A level music students visited The BBC Proms held in the Royal Albert Hall. This concert featured The Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

The concert opened with The Halle playing Subito con forza by South Korean composer Unsuk Chin. Unsuk Chin is a composer of contemporary classical music based in Berlin, Germany. Chin taught herself piano from a young age and studied composition at Seoul National University and György Ligeti at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. It was fantastic to see a performance of music from composers of other parts of the world, featuring powerful strings and full orchestral textures which allowed us to enjoy an incredibly stirring and cinematic performance – a great start to the night.

This was followed by a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, featuring Benjamin Grosvenor on the piano, which was nothing short of moving. This piece was composed between 1805–1806, first performed March 1807 at a private concert at the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. The coordination between the piano and the rest of the orchestra was incredibly admirable, with Grosvenor playing candenzas by Saint-Saëns on the piano. The success of the performance lead to an encore.

After the interval, the orchestra performed Camille Saint-Saëns’ 1886 Symphony No. 3 in C minor – “Organ”. This organ symphony featured the amazing organist Anna Lapwood, whose organ performance entered the second half of the piece powerfully. She gave an invigorating pipe organ performance which no doubt the audience was impressed with, while the piece also brought us virtuoso piano passages and brilliant orchestral writing from the Romantic period, definitely ending up as one of the highlights of the night.

Watching a live performance was an exhilarating experience, as it has been a while since everyone has watched a live performance due to the pandemic last year, even more so when the performance was one held in such a marvellous hall, where every performance featured a different hue of lighting, each reflecting the tone of the three electrifying pieces. I am sure everyone is already looking forward to the BBC Proms 2022, as I am sure there will be even more impressive orchestral performances to come.

Written by Aidan Chan

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