The curtain came down on the 2012 Games with Usain Bolt crossing the line out in front for his third gold. It was only right athletics' ultimate showman had the final say inside the same venue as he anchored a Jamaican quartet to victory in the 4x100m relay.
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The audiences for this immense work ought to be disappearing. In fact, they're growing
For a Proms audience chock-a-block with enthusiasts determined not to be distracted by Royal baby news or excessive heat, Daniel Barenboim took the Proms podium to open Das Rheingold – the first opera in the Proms’ hungrily-anticipated, first-ever Ring cycle. Moments later, that spacious E flat build-up was immersing us in some seriously luxurious Wagnerian waters.
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Since the 1980s, John Zorn has composed 500 songs inspired by traditional Jewish music, a series known as the Masada Book, variously recorded by adventurous musicians such as Marc Ribot and now Pat Metheny.
Daniel Harding will conduct a BBC Prom due to have been given by Sir Colin Davis who died last month aged 85.
In 2011, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra played two BBC Proms in one night. The first was a meticulously disciplined programme of Liszt and Mahler, the second a jamboree of party pieces and encores, selected by raffle from a list of some 200 works. Encores are the great disinhibitors of classical music and they have served Fischer and his orchestra well. Now 30 years old, the BFO can melt the cognoscenti with musical kitsch, compete with the finest in core symphonic repertoire, and deliver Beethoven with the transparency of period instruments. Whether this should all be attempted in one performance is another matter.
The cadenza in a classical concerto is a curious thing. Originally devised as a way of letting the soloist show off, it became a commentary on the work it adorned, as well as a holiday from it: the soloist could take you on a switchback journey before bringing you safely home. These days, with so many other opportunities for display, its bravura function has faded, so soloists often use it instead as a slot to puff their own wares – as Kennedy does when he injects jazz and Gypsy music into his Brahms.
Conductor Sir Colin Davis has died at the age of 85, the London Symphony Orchestra has announced.
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The most powerful weapon in the opera designer’s armoury is lighting, which allows musical atmosphere to be changed by the flick of a switch: Ravel’s ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’ was never more resonant than when lit by David Hockney’s glowing reds, greens, and mauves.
Royal Festival Hall, London