CLASSICAL MUSIC / On classical music

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Some of the peak Prom experiences come with youth orchestra nights. That certainly goes for the players - for many of them, especially the ones who don't go on to a professional career, playing at the Royal Albert Hall is the high point of a musical lifetime. Status has nothing to do with it; atmosphere and occasion, everything. The crowd in the arena is, well, as young and uninhibited as British concert audiences ever get. It's a stony soul that fails to leave on a high.

If you heard the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain earlier this month the spirit will still be with you. This is an eagerly awaited annual event. The European Community Youth Orchestra's visits are more recent, but regulars know that they too count among the most electrifying sessions of the season. Imagine the musical equivalent of a football team picked from all the World Cup sides of the EC. Suppose France produces the best forwards, or woodwind; Germany the defenders, or brass, and England the midfield, or strings. You select to combine all the strengths. Then you can have the pick of the international managers.

This Saturday it's the doyen of them all, Carlo Maria Giulini, who conducts the Brahms Second and Fourth Symphonies. As usual the Prom date is part of a European tour, for which the musicians have spent the first part of the summer break in intensive training.

And the accumulated emotion pours into the performances to fuse with the thrills of musical discovery. For listeners, too, the mix is addictive.

Sat 20 Aug, 7.30pm, Radio 3 and Royal Albert Hall (071-589 8212). Standing tickets pounds 3 and pounds 2 on the night only

(Photograph omitted)

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