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

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
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.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all