Friday, 30 August 2002

DSCH 4 @ The Proms

Listening to:

Dvorak, string quartet in E flat major, op. 51.

My phone is ringing at regular intervals this morning, but all I get when I pick it up is a beeping noise. Some misguided machine out there is trying to communicate with me and doing a very bad job of it.

According to this report from Transparency International, New Zealand is the equal-second least corrupt country in the world (behind Finland, and sharing its position with Denmark).

We went to a Prom concert on Sunday night to hear Valery Gergiev conduct Prokofiev's 3rd piano concerto and Shostakovich's 4th symphony. The latter was really quite amazing. It requires a huge orchestra (four clarinets, four oboes, four flutes, bass clarinet, treble clarinet and bassoons in the woodwind, two harps, lots of exotic percussion, a piano and lots of brass as well as all the usual strings). When playing at their loudest, the music totally filled the Royal Albert Hall, and I think I could even feel the floor shake slightly at one point (and we were in cheap seats, high up and quite a distance from the orchestra really). In contrast, the ending is a very quiet fade out, and everyone was very still and quiet for an age until Gergiev relaxed and let us applaud him and his orchestra (the Kirov).

It's a shame the audience couldn't keep as quiet through the rest of the performance. There were lots of coughs and splutters. I don't think I've ever coughed during music at a concert, so I feel pretty intolerant. They should implement some sort of “one cough and you're out” policy, because the coughers are typically repeat offenders. Anyway, here's a review from the Guardian.