More than a yard of tickets to the Proms!
Olivier Latry, the star organist of Notre-Dame de Paris, woke up the mice in the organ of the Royal Albert Hall at the start of his recital with a fairly short version of Khachaturian’s noisy Sabre Dance but his performance showed clearly which direction the recital was heading. His performance style here could not be further from English cathedral organ playing. There was a touch of the swagger of a fairground organ, certainly the bells and whistles (and tremulants and celeste) of a cinema organ. He brought great emotion to the restricted palette of Beethoven’s Adagio for mechanical clock. And blockbuster performances of the two major pieces at the centre of his recital, JS Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Liszt’s Prelude and Fugue on BACH.
This was one of the really memorable night’s promenading, a privilege to hear Dvořák’s and Smetana’s music close up to an inspired orchestra and conductor. This is Prom 2 but my first this year. The very British queues for promenading as good-humoured as ever along with an equally strong and British sense of turn and order, aided by the redoubtable staffers from the Albert Hall.
The bridge across Floral Street between the opera house and the support building, its tortured architecture a metaphor for the role of Boris Godunov in Modest Musorgsky's operatic workout on Russian history.
Glorious evening of Miami Sound Machine’s crossover Cuban beats that enthralled us in the Eighties. Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine had to fight racial discrimination back then to get heard, but they were and had a successful world tour as a result. That was the era of classic music divas and the emergence from the ghettos of High Energy, Chicago House, Hip hop and many others. So many forgotten songs and beats.
The medium of abstract dance communicates emotions and ideas but without words, along with the grace and power of the human body working to its maximum. There’s a parallel with idea-based art: as a non-verbal language, dance has the capacity to communicate with us directly at a lower level than our verbal skills. It sometimes takes time for the full realisation to sink in, and the language of dance is the more powerful and direct because of this.