Prom 52: Glyndebourne FO <br></br> Prom 53: EUYO/Gardiner <br></br> Prom 54: BBC SSO / Atherton, Royal Albert Hall, London ***/***/***

Click to follow

More was promised the following night when Bernarda Fink joined the European Union Youth Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner for Ravel's exotic song-cycle Sheherazade. But somewhere en route the scent and sensuality had drained from the piece. It was a strangely chaste, even sexless, performance. That Fink - a classy singer - was so obviously not French hardly helped.

It was a different story after the interval when the feisty young players, primed and fully armed, took no prisoners with Walton's First Symphony. Gardiner was masterful in signalling the tension and release between the amorous and the antagonistic elements of the piece, but it was the rhythmic trenchancy and nervous energy of the playing that made it possible.

The 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War is a key feature of this year's Proms. And if the malice aforethought of Walton's First Symphony represents the "before", Gorecki's Thirdis undoubtedly the "after". Or even the hereafter. Gorecki's "holy minimalism", emerging from a single line of plainchant in whispering string basses, has become the musical pieta of our times. The highest compliment that one can pay to soprano Susan Bullock and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under David Atherton is to say that they didn't so much perform the piece as experience it.

Comments