Reviews Index
Prom 75

Prom 75: The Last Night of the Proms 2019 @ Royal Albert Hall, London

by Sam Smith

On paper this did not look like the most inspiring Last Night of the Proms. Even by the measure of recent years, the first half…



Prom 74: NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover / Manze @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The final week of the 2019 Proms season saw the festival observe a tradition from its early years, by focusing Monday night’s concert on Wagner,...

Prom 70: Jonny Greenwood @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Tuesday evening’s Prom, curated by composer and lead-guitarist of Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood, was a lucky-dip of works whose minimalist inclinations ensured they hung together well....

Prom 67: BBC SO / Oramo @ Royal Albert Hall, London


  Sunday evening’s Prom was clearly an attempt to follow through the ‘nature’ theme begun with John Luther Adams’ In the Name of the Earth...

Prom 62: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Pizzica is a music and dance form specific to the Salento peninsula, and it is part of the wider tarantella style of folk-dance, supposedly a...

Prom 61: Vienna Philharmonic / Orozco-Estrada @ Royal Albert Hall, London


While it may have been Prom 60 that hit the headlines for constituting Bernard Haitink’s final concert ever in the United Kingdom, the one that...

Prom 60: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Haitink @ Royal Albert Hall, London


We all knew the day would come when one of the world’s most revered and admired conductors, Bernard Haitink, would take his final bow in...

Prom 59: Benvenuto Cellini @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Berlioz’ first opera Benvenuto Cellini is rather an unorthodox piece, since it possesses quite an unwieldy plot and demands much from a staging in order...

Prom 55: Jephtha @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Jephtha is Handel’s last oratorio, and despite its high critical standing, this was only its second complete Proms performance. Sadly, despite some excellent musicianship, like...

Prom 54: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Jazz and religion might seem unlikely bedfellows, but it is surprising how many great names in the world of jazz have turned their hands to...

Prom 53: BBC Symphony Orchestra / Davis @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The playing of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis on Thursday evening was of the high standard that one would expect from...

Prom 51: Die Zauberflöte @ Royal Albert Hall, London


This semi-staged performance of Die Zauberflöte was adapted by Donna Stirrup from Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s 2019 production by André Barbe and Renaud Doucet. In many...

Prom 47: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Nelsons @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Pairing Bruckner’s eighth symphony with Bach organ works in this concert by the Leipzig Gewandhaus was an odd piece of programming, although there are tenuous...

Prom 45: Mississippi Goddam @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Programming a Prom that is an homage to Nina Simone presents many challenges. Firstly, everything she accomplished was contextualised by her back-story: the political activism...

Prom 44: London Symphony Orchestra / Rattle @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Sir Simon Rattle always enjoys challenging and educating his audiences: they must do their homework before being allowed their tea. Tuesday’s Prom was no exception,...

Prom 40: Queen Victoria’s 200th Anniversary @ Royal Albert Hall, London


With a clever nod to real Victorian values, the BBC programmed Sullivan’s Victoria and Merrie England Suite as the first item for this celebratory Prom....

Prom 38: Solomon’s Knot @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The Royal Albert Hall is not kind to small early-music ensembles, especially when their Prom is scheduled for the late-night slot, when there are generally...

Prom 36: Late-Night Mixtape @ Royal Albert Hall, London


If you are the someone who does not judder at the word ‘ambient’, then Tuesday’s Late-night Prom would have been for you. Replicating Radio 3’s...

Prom 35: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Brabbins @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The conductor Martyn Brabbins turned 60 recently, and to mark the occasion, fifteen of his composer friends were asked to create a set of variations...

Prom 34: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra / Barenboim @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, who are currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their foundation by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said, are practically annual visitors to...

Prom 31: Philharmonia Orchestra / Salonen @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Brahms’ Variations on the St Anthony Chorale is the composer’s doff of the cap to Haydn. The harmonic world, certainly, is richer and more chromatic...