Prom 41: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra / Barenboim, Royal Albert Hall, London
Wednesday 17 August 2005
The programme was announced as Mozart and Mahler. How inspired to begin with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. Oboist Mohamed Saleh, from Cairo, is the sort of talent that comes round once in a lifetime. Here was a star, intuitively phrasing and colouring in the manner of a truly great player. And from the reduced orchestra, Barenboim coaxed the warmest of sounds: squarely central European, elegant, precise, charming.
Mahler's First Symphony fielded the entire orchestra - including nine horns. At times, it was impossible to think that this was not one of the world's great orchestras. The opening serene hush, the aggressive "cuckoos", the graceful string glissandi, the dynamic detail and colouring, gave way in the second movement to fresh, rumbustious Tyrolean dancing. But it was in the third and fourth movements that Barenboim demonstrated his ability to pace transitions while willing and seducing the orchestra to join in relishing every nuance, every cataclysmic climax.
The audience went wild. Elgar's Nimrod was not enough to calm. Barenboim quietened the house. He spoke of the courage of every single player on stage. He spoke of an act of solidarity: next week they play in Ramallah. And then they played work by a composer proscribed in Israel, Wagner's "Prelude and Liebestod". The effect was overwhelming.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stuart Baggs dies: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 2 Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
- 3 1000 people played Foo Fighters simultaneously to try and get them to play their city
- 4 Every club should be like Labour – you can’t join as a new member unless you’re already a member
- 5 Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston says why he left the BBC series after just one series
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'