Monday 16 September 2013

BBCSO and Lisa Batiashvili at the BBC Proms

On the evening of Wednesday 21st August 2013 I attended Prom 52 of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London which featured the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo and violinist Lisa Batiashvili. The BBC Symphony Orchestra were making their second appearance with its new Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo.

There was a geographically wide ranging programme consisting of Cave of Luminous Mind - Param Vir, Violin Concerto in D minor - Sibelius, Celtic Symphony - Bantock and Enigma Variations - Elgar.

This was the world premiere of the BBC commission Cave of Luminous Mind by Param Vir, who turned to Tibetan Buddhism for inspiration and specifically to the remarkable life of the 11th century sage Milarepa. This was the composer's musical response to Milarepa's meditational journey towards enlightenment. The piece was dedicated to the late Jonathan Harvey.

Sibelius composed his Violin Concerto in 1903 with a revised version being published in 1905. Sibelius began his musical career with high hopes of becoming a concert violinist. When destiny forged another path for him, then he expressed his relationship with his instrument through this, his only concerto, a work that combines intense virtuosity with profound depths of expression.

Bantock's Celtic Symphony is his homage to the Hebrides, an area he greatly loved. This piece was composed in 1940 for string orchestra and harps. The world of Celtic myth and legend was one of the several locales that appealed to Bantock for musical inspiration.

The first performance of Elgar's Enigma Variations took place in 1899. It was Elgar's most ambitious orchestra works to date and helped establish him as a composer of international importance. Elgar turned to his friends for inspiration for his Enigma Variations offering personal yet sharply etched characterisations in the work that made his name.

This was a fantastic evening at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo providing us with a wonderful and interesting programme of music. The Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili performed an outstanding Sibelius Violin Concerto which is a piece that she has made an acclaimed recording with Sakari Oramo. There was a brilliant atmosphere which made this a special night at the BBC Proms.

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