Two orchestras on the up, two conductors of personality: the BBC National Orchestra of Wales with Kazushi Ono set a tone of refined eloquence in the UK premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's Circulating Ocean. He succeeded in getting it to develop from waves of rhythm and shifting chords rather than explicit themes. Most of all, the piece owed its poetry to an ear for instrumental combinations of great beauty, in a performance that took focused stillness to the edge of audibility.
Stéphane Denève, in his first season as music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, has drawn out qualities of classical poise and tonal beauty that you'd scarcely believe from the orchestra's old recordings with Neeme Jarvi. The big event here was Piotr Anderszewski playing the solo piano in Karol Szymanowski's Symphonie concertante. This little-known thriller burst out of its clouds of swirling sound in a torrent of sexy folk rhythms. Anderszewski relished its moments of exploratory freedom before sharing the drive to a thunderous, exhilaratingly timed end.
As for the token world music Prom, it lacked buzz, despite the efforts of the Mauritanian singer Dimi Mint Abba. Four band members had reportedly been refused visas, but she seared through her set backed by her equally fired-up daughter, Veirouz Mint Seymali. Sadly, nobody thought to offer translations.
The headline act was Radio Tarifa. Shortly to disband, this Spanish group's westernised Arabic music sounds well dated - the nearer to flamenco the better, and when it veered towards rai it only reinforced the absence of the late Cheikha Rimitti, who was to have given the first half. The stage presence was slick and engaging, but as soon as the audience warmed up the show stopped, without the hint of an encore.
BBC Proms to 9 September (020-7589 8212; www.bbc.co.uk/proms)Reuse content