Classical: In the rhythm of the night

PROMS 42-46 ROYAL ALBERT HALL/ RADIO 3 LONDON

FROM FIVE concerts in three days, an unlikely Mozart concerto and a slice of jazz history stood out. Charles Neidich, a short man with a long instrument, bumbled around like Woody Allen but played the basset clarinet with extraordinary refinement. At first his Mozart Clarinet Concerto was fussy, but he phrased the slow movement with simplicity and beauty, ornamentation growing naturally from expressive need.

It upstaged the Bruckner Symphony No 9 in Thursday's early evening Prom. The Royal Philharmonic warmly applauded Daniele Gatti, who drew fine sound, but Bruckner needs a sense of harmonic direction. All the climaxes were much the same and, except in the scherzo, the speeds didn't gel. It was obliterated by the late-night Prom as the BBC Big Band put its own stamp - boisterous and not over-reverent - on Duke Ellington's music. It was a long wait for the guest trumpeter Clark Terry, a Basie and Ellington veteran , but his set quickly caught fire. You almost forgot how tokenistic the appearance was.

After this sustained rhythmic energy, Friday's heavy Bartk Piano Concerto No 3 with Pierre-Laurent Aimard just ain't got that swing, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Martyn Brabbins did a more focused job for the few quiet minutes of Gyorgy Kurtg's Messages. The last whispers of post- war new international classical music, perhaps; starting with a perfect epigram, the music seemed to distil 50 years' worth of harmonic wisdom into a still small voice, a handful of long-considered chords and brief hints of violin melody, as though that was all that could honestly be said now.

Most premieres feel more local, taking, for instance, British music into wider but established territory. Take David Matthews' confident Symphony No 5, the centrepiece of the Britten Sinfonia's debut Prom on Saturday. The steady, string-propelled vigour of its opening seemed to be moving the Elgarian heritage forward, but as the work grew, the nearest comparison that came to mind was Roussel: colourful, weighty and sometimes flamboyant orchestral sound carried terse thinking with terrific drive. Matthews' unusual flair for rhythm allowed the symphony's beginning and end - surrounding a spiky scherzo and a slow movement of rich but stolid melody - to make the strongest immediate impression.

Conducted by Nicholas Cleobury, the Sinfonia also brought deft Ravel (Le tombeau de Couperin)and Britten (Ian Bostridge suavely singing Les Illuminations), plain, hasty Mozart, and an encore from Milhaud's Carnaval de Londres which set "Over the Hills and Far Away" as a samba.

Saturday's late-night Prom was an absorbing sequence of choral and organ music in which the BBC Singers struggled in impossibly over-laden Strauss and prospered in Bax and Poulenc, and David Goode relished the chance to play Jehan Alain's searing Litanies on the Albert Hall house monster. The surprise pleasure was Alpha and Omega by Carl Rutti, building apparently simple material into intensely personal climaxes - with shades of Maurice Durufle, of much-loved Requiem fame.

Thursday's and Friday's early evening Proms will be rebroadcast on Radio 3 at 2pm on Thursday and Friday respectively

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world